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Investigation Report 




Formal Investigation into the 
Circumstances Surrounding the 
Downing of Iran Air Flight 655 
on 3 July 1988 



:0 




THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE 
WASHINGTON. THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

19 August 1988 



MEMORANDUM FOR SECRETARY OF THE NAVY 

SUBJECT: Investigation into the Circumstances Surrounding 

the Downing of Iran Air Flight 655 on July 3, 1988 

The proceedings, findings o£ fact, opinions and 

recommendations, as modified by the subsequent endorsers, are 

approved. The report and endorsements are provided for action 

consistent with the recommendations contained therein. 




Attachment 

cc : CJCS 



OFFICE OF THE CHAIRMAN 

THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF 

WASHINGTON. D.C. 20301 5000 

CM-1485-88 
18 August 1988 



SECOND ENDORSEMENT on Rear Admiral Fogarty's Itr of 28 July 1988 

From: Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff 
To: Secretary of Defense 

Subj: FORMAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING 
THE DOWNING OF IRAN AIR FLIGHT 655 ON 3 JULY 1988 (U) 

1. (U) The downing of civilian Iran Air Flight 655 on 3 July was a tragic 
and regrettable accident and, as is so often the case in a combat 
environment, there were a number of contributing factors. It Is first 
important to put the events of that day In the local context. 

2. (U) The U.S. Government committed naval forces to the convoying of 
American flag tankers in the spring of 1987. From the outset, the 
Administration emphasized that while our forces could achieve this mission. 
It would involve risks and uncertainties. This prediction was borne out by 
several incidents, e.g., the indiscriminate laying of Iranian mines, the 
Bndgeton explosion, the STARK tragedy, the SAMUEL B. ROBERTS striking a 

«?^J"''®i°fo*^? ^^^^^ Iranian firing on U.S. helos, and the 
incidents of April 18 when Iranian ships and aircraft attempted to damage 
^;i:+if" *k' Throughout this period and especially in the wake of the above 

^ ® Government of Iran issued inflammatory statements threatening 
i-jfi ^iJT*^?!! personnel and interests. Reinforcing the high 

l!!!!,*': tension, both Baghdad and Teheran have continued to attack unarmed 
merchant ships, the former with aircraft and the latter with small boats, 
!n.!fL5II ^""^ni*" assaults have been largely concentrated in the 

southern gulf and on occasion have taken place in the presence of foreign 
warsn i ps . 

(U) As a/esult of the STARK incident, our commanders were given a 
revised set of ROE which clarified their authority to take positive 
protective measures when hostile intent was manifested. It was emphasized 
that they do not have to be shot at before responding and that they have an 
unambiguous responsibility to protect their units and people. To 
facilitate these measures a Notice to Airmen was reviewed and reissued in 
rn?f ™L n^^^M^^®^ nations who operate aircraft in the Persian 

Gulf region that U.S. Navy ships were taking additional precautions. In 
particular the need for aircraft operating in those waters to be prepared 
to Identify themselves on specific circuits and to state their intentions 
was emphasized. Additionally, they were advised that failure to respond to 
requests for identification, as well as operating in a threatening manner, 
could place aircraft at risk by U.S. defensive measures. These practices, 
despite some grumbling, have been generally accepted in the Gulf. 
Unfortunately, few commercial airlines saw fit to reroute their aircraft or 
to make any other significant allowances for the hostile environment, 
btill, It IS clear that all concerned were aware that U.S. ships were 
deployed in the area and that those units fully intended to defend 
themselves when necessary. 

, CLASSIFIED BY: CJCS 

DECLASSIFY ON: OADR 



(■) For several months preceding the Air Bus shootdown, the U.S. had 
received reports of Iranian efforts to improve their ability to attack U.S. 
men-of-war. These have included attempts to outfit both aircraft and small 
boats for l^^H^^^^^Hl suicide assaults, to reconfigure F-4s, F14s, CW^CO 
and other types of aircraft to carry a variety of air-to-surface missiles, 
and to develop small boat "swarm" tactics which could break through a 
warship's defensive gunfire. Special occasions, such as Moslem or American 
holidays. Inevitably precipitated intelligence reports that the Iranians 
were preparing a particular operation directed at Americans. In fact, we 
had been warned of the possibility of some type of unusual assault on the 
4th of July weekend. 

(U) Of especial interest was the recent shift of Iranian F-14's from 
Bushenr to Bandar Abbas. In the few days preceding this incident several 
F-14 flights, operating from Bandar Abbas, took place in the southern Gulf. 
On 2 July, USS HALSEY had to warn away a potentially threatening Iranian 
F-14. 

(U) Upon arrival in the region every unit, including VINCENNES, was 
briefed on our past experience, the current ROE, and most recent 
intelligence. It is fair to say that incoming ships approach Gulf 
operations aware of the uncertain environment and with an appreciation of 
the need for vigilance. Similarly, they have been impressed with their 
responsibility to defend themselves in a forehanded manner. Those thoughts 
are constantly on the minds of every commander and crew serving in the 
Gulf. 

3. (U) The events that led up to the tragedy on 3 July were typical of the 
everyday patterns in the Gulf. On 2 July, Iranian gunboats in the Gulf had 
positioned themselves in the western approaches to the Straits of Hormuz 
and were challenging transiting merchantmen. MONTGOMERY was located 
sufficiently close to a ship attack In progress to respond to a request for 
distress assistance and to fire warning shots to ward off IRGC units 
attacking a merchant vessel. 

(U) On the morning of 3 July, MONTGOMERY observed seven IRGC small 
boats approaching a Pakistani vessel. The number shortly thereafter grew 
to 13 and they began to challenge nearby merchantmen. VINCENNES was 
ordered to the area to support MONTGOMERY and launched a helicopter to 
reconnoiter the scene. In the process the helicopter was fired upon. 
VINCENNES and MONTGOMERY closed the general areas of the small boats. Two 
of the boats turned toward VINCENNES and MONTGOMERY while the others began 
to maneuver erratically. These actions were interpreted as manifesting 
hostile intent and both ships, after being given permission, engaged. This 
action, involving high speed course changes and gunfire at close range, was 
still in progress when Air Bus 655 took off from the joint 
military/civilian airfield at Bandar Abbas and headed toward Dubai. It is 
hard to overemphasize the fact that Bandar Abbas is also a military 
airfield. The Air Bus was probably not informed of the surface action 
taking place in the Strait. Informed or not. Flight 655 logically appeared 
to have a direct relationship to the ongoing surface engagement. 



2 



(U) Even this brief and simplistic description, leads to the opinion, 
which the investigation drew, that Iran must share the responsibility for 
the tragedy. Given the fact that the surface engagement was initiated by 
the Iranians, I believe that the actions of Iran were the proximate cause 
of this accident and would argue that Iran must bear the principal 
responsibility for the tragedy. By any measure it was unconscionable to 
ignore the repeated warnings of U.S. forces concerning potential hazards of 
flight in the Gulf. It was especially reprehensible to allow an airliner 
to take off from a joint "military/civilian" airfield and fly directly into 
the midst of a gunfight. As for the aircraft itself, its failure not to 
monitor the international air distress net and not to respond to challenges 
was significantly negligent. 

4. (U) The investigation paints in vivid terms the pressure-filled 
environment in the VINCENNES CIC. In assessing what was reasonable 
performance under the circumstances it is imperative to have an emotional 
and intellectual feel for that picture. 

(U) During the critical seven minutes that Flight 655 was airborne, 
Captain Rogers and his CIC watcn team were integrating a multitude of 
ongoing events. Specifically, VINCENNES was engaged in a high-speed 
surface battle with at least two groups of Iranian small boats-all of 
""^S5«!)22»J!!® ^?PSy.liiX^i° inflict serious personnel and equipment damage 
on VINCENNES and MONTGOMERY. Any one of these could have been a terrorist 
platform prepared to make a suicide run against either ship. At the same 
time, she was monitoring one of her helos which was airborne and had 
already come under attack from the Iranian small boats. CIC was also 
tracking an Iranian P-3 military aircraft airborne approximately 60 
nautical miles to the northwest which was presenting a classic targeting 
profile, (i.e., furnishing information to an attack aircraft.) Captain 
Rogers was given and assumed tactical command of the MONTGOMERY and SIDES. 
He was also prepared to assume tactical command of U.S. combat aircraft 
?r9?r?^ in and approaching the scene from outside the Persian Gulf. 
Additionally, VINCENNES was dealing with a fouled gun mount and maneuvering 
extensively to keep her remaining gun unmasked to engage the multiple 
target threat. At one point she was forced to make a full rudder turn at 
30 knots which caused the ship to heel sharply and added to the drama. 

(U) In the midst of this highly charged environment, an unknown 
aircraft took off from a joint military/civilian airport on a flight path 
headed directly toward VINCENNES and MONTGOMERY. This was the same 
airfield from which Iran had launched F-4's in support of an attack on U.S. 
naval forces on 18 April and from which Iran had repeatedly launched F-14 
fighter aircraft during the prior week. This unknown aircraft was 27 
minutes behind any scheduled commercial airline departure from Bandar Abbas 
airport. Although it was flying within a known commercial air corridor, it 
was off the center! ine some 3 or 4 miles, which was not the usual 
H?ni?rJ.ill® P^^o^ile for commercial air traffic previously monitored by 
VINCENNES. Moreover, its mid-range altitude was consistent with either a 
hostile or commercial aircraft. 

U. 

i uJrl VINCENNES could detect no radar emanations from the contact which 
might identify it, but was reading a Mode III IFF squawk. This situation 



3 



was confused somewhat when a Mode II IFF squawk was detected and the 
aircraft was identified as an F-14. Complicating the picture was an 
Iranian P-3 to the west which was in excellent position to furnish 
targeting information to an attacking aircraft. More importantly, the 
unknown contact continued at a gradually increasing speed on a course 
headed toward VINCENNES and MONTGOMERY. It failed to respond to repeated 
challenges from VINCENNES over both the military and International 
emergency distress frequencies. The Captain was in a genuine dilemma. On 
one hand the threatening contact was closing about 5-6 miles a minute. On 
the other, he had to act quickly to defend his ship and crew before the 
contact got much closer than 10 miles (in order to give himself fire depth 
and to stay outside of Maverick range). By the time he learned of the 
potential threat, his decision time was less than 5 minutes. 

(U) It is under these circumstances, coupled with the significant 
background of recent history in the Gulf, as well as the influence of 
current intelligence reports, that the decision of Captain Rogers to fire 
must be judged. Given what was in his mind at the time, there was no other 
prudent or responsible course. 

Si-i ^t)*^ !?9* ^° that everything went right. There are no 
flawless operations in combat--even when there is a successful outcome. 
But to say that there were mistakes made, says very little by itself. 

(U) Some of the information given to Captain Rogers during the 
engagement proved not to be accurate. Unfortunately the investigation was 
not able in every case to reconcile the inaccuracies. However, the more 
serious question to be posed here is whether these errors were significant 
or critical to the result. 

i,T..rr2;.rr^^^ Shortly after liftoff Flioht 655 was identified within 
VINCENNES as an F-14. The Identification Designation Supervisor, WM WtU') 
■■■p, had detected a Mode II squawk on his RCI and announced the (wSc^Ntt') 
contact was an p-14. The initial ''unidentified assumed hostile" 
designation was changed to F-14. Although one officer suggested the 
possibility of COMAIR (commercial aircraft), no one else in the CIC took 
issue with the F-14 classification. The fact is the sensors gave no clear 

of ijfo^nation that it was not an F-14. However, if the F-14 
identification had never been made, the contact would have remained 
designated "unidentified assumed hostile." In that event, it is unlikely 
that the CIC Team would have proceeded any differently or elicited 
additional information in the extraordinarily short time available. As 
long as it remained a possible "hostile," the Commanding Officer would be 
obligated to treat it in the same manner as he would an F-14. 

^ ^; r^y) ^^^^t (possibly two) interrogation from the Remote 
Control Indicator registered a Mode II 1100 IFF squawk. This probably 
inspired the F-14 classification since the ship had intelligence that 
Iranian F-14 s were employing Mode II code 1100. The Air Bus, however, was 
not sguawking Mode II. When Initially interrogating the target on the RCI, 
the IDS laid the IFF range gate on the Bandar Abbas area. Given the 
ducting that day, there is a possibility that the system detected the Mode 
II squawk of another aircraft. Because the range gate does not move with 



4 



the hooked target automatically, in order to continue interrogating Flight 
655 the range gate had to be changed manually to track with the contact. 

(U) Was it a critical error? No. Even if the Commanding Officer had 
been informed that there was no Mode II indication, that information alone 
has little significance. An attacker could easily be either squawking Mode 
III or no mode if he believes it will camouflage his identity. On 18 
April, Iranian F-4s that were threatening U.S. units did not squawk any 
mode throughout that day. Combined with other pieces of information, a 
Mode II indication may help a Commanding Officer confirm or disaffirm a 
conclusion, but when under threat it is not definitive but only one piece 
In the puzzle. 

c. (Uj The Commanding Officer did not put emphasis on the air 
corridor being 20 miles wide. In fact, his experience in the Gulf 
suggested that commercial aircraft normally tried hard to stay directly on 
the center line. He believed that 3 to 4 miles off the center axis was 
unusual and should be considered. In actual fact, however, it is again a 
peripheral point. An attacker would probably prefer to be in an air 
corridor if it confused his target. The Persian Gulf is blanketed by air 
corridors; they cover over 50% of the Gulf. Being in an air corridor is 
secondary information at best and must be combined with altitude, voice 
transmissions, etc., to be conclusive. 

d. (U) By far the most puzzling mistake to me was the ultimate 
misreading of altitude. The investigation established that the range and 
altitude information passed to the Commanding Officer was correct until the 
contact reached approximately 15NM. The time was 0653 :45Z. Shortly 
thereafter, at a range between 15 and 12 miles, the Tactical Information 
Coordinator (TIC) reported that the altitude (which he estimated had 
previously reached 11,000 feet) was decreasing. At that moment, the 
Commanding Officer was rapidly reaching a point of no return with his 
Standard missiles and was inside the potential Iranian air-to-surface 
missile threat envelope. The TIC testified that he reported declining 
altitude at 11 miles, possibly 10 miles, and at nine miles. The last 
report was given as the missiles went off the rail and played no part in 
the process- -the firing order had been given a few seconds earlier at 
0654:05Z. Actually, the investigation concluded that the time from the 
first report of decreasing altitude to the decision to fire was in the 
neighborhood of 20 to 30 seconds. 

(U) The investigation was unsuccessful In satisfactorily reconciling 
the conclusion that the contact was descending with subsequent data 
analysis. The TIC's belief, however, was supported by three other 
watchstanders, although it is not clear that they had arrived at that 
conclusion independently. 

(U) It is impossible to say with assurance how the decreasing altitude 
information bore on the Commanding Officer's final decision. Obviously, 
whether the aircraft was ascending or descending could, when taken in the 
overall context, be a "significant Indicator." It should be borne in mind, 
however, that an aircraft even at a range of 9 miles and altitude of 
13,000+ feet (actual altitude at time of firing) was at sufficiently low 



5 



altitude that it could attack VINCENNES within the next 9 miles. On the 
other hand, the report that the altitude was decreasing could possibly have 
further confirmed a developing decision to fire. The Commandinq Officer 
testified that it was only one piece of information among many. In this 
reviewing officer's opinion, it is unlikely that this one piece of 
information would have settled the issue one way or another given the 
uncertainties that remained and the extremely short time left. 

n "^ij® ?*^°ve errors aside, one is driven back to fundamentals. The 
villains of the piece were 6 significant problems which plagued the 
Commanding Officer and he could not control or discount: 

- VINCENNES was engaged on the surface against Iranian boats. 

- The "unidentified assumed hostile" contact had taken off from a 
military airfield. 

- The contact was heading directly at VINCENNES and its range was 
relentlessly closing, 

- The unknown aircraft radiated no definitive electronic 
emissions. 

- VINCENNES warnings went unanswered. 

- The compression of time gave hiro an extremely short decision 
window. 

- Captain Rogers had every right to suspect that the contact was 
related to his engagement with the IRGC boats—until proved 
otherwise. The proof never came. 

L. ^iV®" ^^^^ available, the Commanding Officer could hardly meet 

his obligation to protect his ship and crew and also clear up all of the 
possible ambiguities. It is not unusual in combat to have to deal with 
uncertainties and conflicting information. Although it might not seem 
fair, commanding officers do not have the luxury or reconciling all such 
questions before committing themselves. They have to go with the weight of 
evidence. These are the realities of combat and the commanding officer, if 
he IS to function effectively, must be given some latitude to deal with 
tnem. 

Si «(i!jicI![l?c^"^??^^9^J2°" ^^59 examined the training and watch organization 
of VINCENNES. Given the conditions existing on 3 July, Captain Rogers and 
his senior CIC watch personnel acted reasonably. That these officers 
relied on information from their combat team is not only reasonable--but is 
an absolute necessity in a pressure-packed environment. Watch teams train 
as a unit and function as a unit, not as separate individuals. It is 
impossible In the heat of battle to double check every piece of data being 
reported. The Commanding Officer and his senior watchstanders must rely on 
their subordinates. This is not to suggest that VINCENNES personnel 
performed perfectly in this incident; they did not. As the investigation 
makes clear, to say there were errors made and lessons learned is not 



6 



necessarily to suggest culpability. 

(U) There were, of course, a number of areas of VINCENNES CIC 
performance that deserve some attention. The investigation examined the 
ship's traininq and battle organization. It went on to recommend that the 
AAWC position in the CIC organization be strengthened and that the "GW" not 
be given responsibility as a radio telephone talker. In my view, when 
operating in an environment that includes coimiercial airlines the process 
of "target designation" should be formalized. Also circuit discipline 
becomes extremely important and VINCENNES should work to improve in this 
area. Clearly, the GU or AAWC should confirm or disaffirm important 
reports (such as descending altitude) --particularly ones that change 
conditions just as the Captain is approaching the firing point. The 
Commanding Officer and the administrative chain of command should review 
the investigation with these points in mind with the Intention of 
translating this tragic incident into meaningful corrective actions. 

7. (U) It is my view that, understanding the entire context, reasonable 
minds will conclude that the Commanding Officer did what his nation 
expected of him in the defense of his ship and crew. This regrettable 
accident, a by-product of the Iran-Iraq war, was not the result of culpable 
conduct onboard VINCENNES. 




9. (U) As to the AEGIS system itself, it performed as designed and 
subsequent analysis indicated that the sensor data collected was accurate. 
This was one of our first experiences with the AEGIS under battle 
conditions and the Investigating Officer made a few suggestions as to 
refinements to be explored. 



(U) It should be appreciated that AEGIS was never advertised as being 
•capable of Identifying the type of aircraft being tracked. That decision 
is still a matter for human judgment; despite AEGIS' considerable 
capabilities. AEGIS' major advantages are the extended range of its 
sensors, its fast reaction time, the capacity to track many targets at 
once, its ability to send this information automatically to other units, 
and Its data displays which combine sensor information with other inputs 
and better convey it to the users. Because of its long range radar it 
gives operators additional time to react, to gather data, and to make 
considered judgments. Operating close-in to a land-based airfield, 
however, these advantages can be severely eroded. That problem is not the 



7 



fault of the system but geography. While the machine (in this event, AEGIS 
could not lengthen the Captain's decision time) cannot alter distance, 
there are perhaps some refinements that can make the SPYl more effective in 
the close-in environment. Admiral Fogarty has recommended some 
improvements which I would support. I would add that a means for 
displaying altitude information on a contact such as "ascending" or 
"descending" on the LSD should likewise be examined. 

(U) But beyond these specific fixes, I recommend that some additional 
human engineering be done on the display systems of AEGIS. The objective 
would be to better equip it for assisting with rapid decisions in a 
situation such as VINCENNES confronted. Secretary Carlucci and I visited 
the AEGIS mock-up at Wallop's Island for a briefing on AEGIS and a partial 
reconstruction of the Flight 655 shootdown. It seemed to our Inexperienced 
eyes that the Commanding Officer should have some way of separating crucial 
information from other data. Moreover, the vital data should be displayed 
in some fashion on the LSD so the Commanding Officer and his main 
assistants do not have to shift their attention back and forth between 
displays. 

iS- .(U) Although the policy decision to utilize an AEGIS cruiser in the 
Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf was not a focus of the investigation, I 
believe that a few comments on that policy are in order. Probably the most 
serious and destructive potential threat to both military and civilian 
snipping in the area is the Silkworm missile. There are other serious 
threats, of course, but they all require overt actions on the part of a 
belligerent's forces in international airspace or waters and are more 
subject to countermeasures. A Silkworm missile, once it has been properly 
sited and eguipped, can be launched on ^ few minutes notice from the 
belligerent's landmass. Its flight time is a matter of seconds and it 
possesses an Imposing destructive charge. It is an awesome weapon. The 
most capable platform in the U.S. inventory for handling this threat is the 
AEGIS cruiser. It makes the greatest sense to me to utilize the best 
available platform against the gravest threat. Accordingly, I strongly 
endorse the deployment of an AEGIS cruiser to the region as long as the 
Iranian Silkworm missile is considered a likely threat. 

lb n^^K^ recommend the Secretary of Defense refer this investigation to 
the Chief of Naval Operations for follow-on actions consistent with the 
Investigating Officer's recommendations as modified. 

12. (U) Subject to the foregoing, the proceedings, findings cf fact, 
opinions and recommendations of the Investigating Officer,, as modified by 
the previous endorsement, are approved. 




Joint Chiefs of Staff 



8 



UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND 
OFFICE OF THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF 
MACDIU AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA 33608-7001 



5 August 1988 



FIRST ENDORSEMENT on Rear Admiral Fogarty's Itr of 28 July 1988 

Prom: Commander in Chief, United States Central Command 

To: Secretary Of Defense 

Via: Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff 

Subj: FORMAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING 
THE DOWNING OF IRAN AIR FLIGHT 655 ON 3 JULY 1988 (U) 

1. (U) Readdressed and forwarded. 

2. (u) The proceedings of the investigation and findings of fact 
are approved. The opinions and recommendations are approved 
except as noted below. 

U 

a. Opinions . (/) Opinion E.l: Approved with the 
qualification that regardless of the validity of early 
identification by the Ships 's Signal Exploitation Space (SSES), 
the Identification Supervisor (IDS) identified the aircraft as 
"mode 11-1100, breaks as F-14, » and the aircraft was entered into 
the system as an F-14, thus forming a positive, authoritative 
identification. > 

Rationale ; SSES denied making the report and IDS 
confirmed his identification. 

b. Recommendat ions : 

(1) (U) Recommendation A.l: Disapproved. 

Rationale : See paragraph 4.b. 
U 

(2) {f) Recommendation A. 2 : Approved with the additional 
suggestion that the Chief of Naval Operations consider 
instituting a program for Command, Control, Communication and 
Intelligence (C3l) stress management to test and evaluate the 
impact of human stress on C3I operations in complex modern 
warships such as the AEGIS Cruiser. Integral to this program 
would be the incorporation of measures of human effectiveness 
into battle simulation techniques to assess the effect of peak 
overloads and stress on the human players. 

Rationale ; High level of responsibility and stress 
associated with these sophisticated ships require assigned 
personnel possess the highest personal suitability. 
U 

(3) if) Recommendation A, 3: Disapproved. 

Rationale: Appropriate matters contained in the 
proposed demarche are being handled through ICAO channels. 




(4) (U) Recommendation A. 6: Disapproved. 



Rationale ; The revised warning as promulgated by 
CJTFME is adequate. 

3. (U) The following additional opinions concerning the more 
contentious issues in the investigation are offered in order to 
provide a sharper focus and my thinking on these issues. 

a. (U) A major consideration in reviewing the report is the 
time compression within which the actions described in the 
investigation took place. Only seven minutes and five seconds 
elapsed between the time Iran Air Plight 655 was first detected 
by USS VINCENNES and the decision made to fire the missiles. The 
Captain of USS VINCENNES was made aware of a possible incoming 
threat aircraft, some four minutes before the decision to fire. 
Captain Rogers actual decision window was confined to less than 
one minute when the suspect aircraft was approaching to within 
ten miles of the ship. 

b. (U) The report substantiates that a Mode ll-llOO 
Identification. Friend or Foe System (IFF) signal was received on 
USS VINCENNES through the Remote Control Indicator (RCI). This 
signal was received only once in the first minutes of the Iran 
655 flight and never received again. It was not picked up by the 
ship's SPY-1 Radar System. While the source of this signal 
cannot be verified, the possibility of emanation through the 

ducting phenomenon from a military aircraft on the ground at 
Bandar Abbas appears plausible.- ~ 

c. (U) Although the initial identification of the incoming 
aircraft as an F- 14 is in que stion, it was clearly identified by 
th^IDS operator , ^^^^^^iBHH^^^gg^^^^Hg^im^^ 

■■^■Pr as "Mode 11-1100, breaks as F-14." From that moment on 
the Anti-Air Warfare Coordinator's (AAWC) organization, most 
especially the Tactical Information Coordinator (TIC), ■■§■■1 
^^^^Go^Mjmiske^Porce Anti-Air Warfare Coordinator, who was 
^^^H^^^^^^^^I^^HI^m , convinced the incoming 

aircraft was an F-14, despite the fact that the Mode II IFF 
signal did not reappear and the ship's SPY-1 Radar System only 
held Mode III 6760. 

d. (U) The matter of ascending and descending altitude of 
Flight 655 deserves special attention as there is a direct 
contradiction between the data tapes obtained from USS VINCENNES 
and the situation report submitted by USS VINCENNES to the 
Commander, Joint Task Force Middle East (JTPME) following the 
engagement . 

(1) (U) The primary source for the reports that the 
aircraft of interest was rapidly decreasing in altitude, at 1,000 
feet per mile, and increas ing speed o n a course directly toward 
USS VINCENNES was the TIC, He apparently interjected 

these reports on the ship's Command Communication Circuit 15 
every time he had the opportunity "to make sure they were staying 
informed and...^ot^ getting too sidetracked by the surface 



2 



engagement where t hey were f orgetting about the guy coming in." 
This assessment by Vm^^B cannot be logically explained in 
that his battle station's character read out (CRO) would have 
been showing an exa ct opposite profile of steadily increasing 
altitude. Clearly, H^^^^l could not have been reporting from 
the data displayed on the CRO. The most re as onable explanation 
contained in the repo rt by 

. . — — ^HS^\T^^S!S!fKl- ^^as MM 

induced by a combination of physiological fatigue, combat OiiCfM 
operations, stress and tension which c an adverse ly affect 
performance and mission execution. As states, *'The 

concept of ' scenariofulf illment ' could see^as applying in this 
case." Since ^^IBIHII has no doubt that the aircraft is an 
Iranian F-14, heading toward the ship, and is not acknowledging 
repeated warnings, "the mind may reject incongruent data and 
faci^tate misperception which promote internal consistency." 
^^^■■IH mental agitation is reflected in his testimony that 
he took it upon himself to take "every open spot" he was getting 
on Circuit 15 to ensure "everyone up in the command decision area 
was informed, kept aware of what was going on in case they got 
sidetracked by other events." Toward the end it is reported he 
was yelling out loud. 

. . ^^^H^HH^^H^I^B' acting as the 

principal Anti-Air Warfare ( AAW) advisor to the Commanding 
Officer, apparently accepted ^HB^^H reports of descending 
altitude and increasing speed at face value without further Mi^ 
evaluation on his part from the CRO at his position and, passed LWStiftCt^ 
the assessment on to the Captain, Which in- turn had a direct 
bearing on the decision to fire. IHHI^^HiBHil^^H^H^^H 
states he "came to the realization that data to me doesn't mean 
anything, because I reacted to people that I thought that ... I 
knew that I had operated with that were reliable. . .and when they 
reported at short range they had a decreasing altitude, 
increasing speed, I had no reason to doubt them." 

e. (U) As to the Commanding Officer's conduct, I support the 
investigation officer's opinion that Captain Rogers made the 
correct decision to fire given the facts which he had available 
to him and the short time to make the decision. 

(1) (U) Captain Rogers had temporarily changed his ship's 
battle doctrine for the Persian Gulf by directing his best 
officer in AAW to sit in the "Golf Whiskey" (or Forces Anti-Air 
Warfare) position to the left of h im in the C ommand and Decision 
area. He relied on this officer, ^■^^^■■^■^^■^M to CbUW) 
maintain and direct the anti-air warfare picture, provide him oM^if^ 
with funneled information from the AAWC and, make recommendations 
upon which the Captain could make a decision as to employment of 
the ship's weapon systems. Captain Rogers had the highest 
confidence in the ab ility o f H^^^HI^^H^BBH^HHH backed 
up by the facts that ^Htfl had served aboard USS VINCENNES for 
five years, was a fully qualified AAWC, and had participated in 
training and execution exercises under the "Golf Whiskey" 



3 



organization. Captain Rogers exercise of "command by negation" 
placed an even greater relian ce on the information and 
recommendations received from ^HiHIBHIHHHIHI^HI 

did not as a practice deal with his CRO relying rather on the 
information from operators who, as he states, were trained better 
than he to read a CRO. 

(2) (U) The first in formation given to Captain Rogers by 

^^H^^^HHHHHHHHIHI was that there was an inbound F-14 on 
a closing course which was not responding to challenges. He 
apparently was also told that the aircraft had veered from its 
route and appeared to be moving to an attack position. Such a 
scenario would not have seemed unreasonable to the Captain as he 
was well aware of the P-14 activity from Bandar Abbas, warning of 
possible Iranian attack over the holiday weekend, threat of 
suicide aircraft and the other background which is well described 
_in_the report. Based on the information he had received from 
H^^^^HII^HIi^^HB^^HIIHI captain Rogers came to the initial 
conclusion that the aircraft was displaying hostile intent and 
requested and received permission to engage at 20 miles if the 
_air_threat did not respond t o warnings. Despite the request from 
HH^^^H^H^^^^^H^HH to engage at 20 miles. Captain Rogers 
elected to hold off based on a lack of Electronic Warfare (EwJ 
correlation. 

(3) (U) During the three minutes remaining before the 
decision was made to fire, Captain Rogers was preoccupied with 
the ongoing small boat engagement and a foul bore in Mount .51. 
He believed the most immediate threat to the ship was the 
difficulty of USS VINCENNES to deal with dense, aggressive, high 
speed small craft attempting to press home an attack. His 
primary focus. Large Screen Display (LSD) and hook were on and 
remained on the small craft engagement. Thus, he continued to 
rely upon the verbal assessments from IBlHIH^HBII^^^^^H 
as to the extent and nature of the air threat. 

(4) (U) As the aircraft entered the 10 mile range from 
USS VINCENNES, the Captain was forced to make a decision. He had 
been told that: The aircraft is not responding to warnings? not 
acting like a commercial aircraft: the IFF mode and code were 
indicative of an Iranian military aircraft? and, most 
importantly, that the aircraft was decreasing in altitude, 
increasing in speed and on a closing flight profile with USS 
VINCENNES . A s Captain Rogers says in his test imony , "... my 
confidence in ^^^mBIHHHB^^B confirmed to me that 
the aircraft was, in fact, a threat." With these assessments and 
the aircraft now at nine miles from USS VINCENNES, the Captain 
believed he could no longer delay in defending his ship and made 
the decision to engage - a decision which had to be made in a 
minute or less. 

(5) (U) One might criticize the Captain for not devoting 
more attention to the air picture, but this is judgmental. 
Captain Rogers believed the most immediate threat to his ship was 



MM 



th^smallboats and he could count on the advice of IHHH^H 

HI^^BBI^^HB ^eep him informed, and should the IV>CW> 

circumstance arise the AAW capabilities of USS VINCENNES were CW^oSCc) 
such that he could execute a timely and successful engagement. 

(j) (U) In hindsigh t it appears that the replacement o f 

HIHHH^HHHi^^lHBHB the aawc with 

an inexperienced officer, qualified only through on the job 
training, contributed to a degradation of the AAWC organization 
under combat stress. This in effect denied a double check on the 
information being provided from the ship's "Air Alley." Based on 
previous training and drills, however. Captain Rogers could not 
have reasonably foreseen this as a consequence of a sound 
tactical decision to modify his ship's battle doctrine for 
operations in the Persian Gulf. 

(U) The performance of ^^^^^BHI^^H^^HI^H^I leaves 
room for question. He was the one officer upon whom Captain C^C^ 
Rogers had placed his trust and confidence to evaluate the AAWC UH*^)^) 
situation and provide accurate assessments and recommendations 
upon which to base an engagement decision. 

Early on ^Hi^^^BiHI^Iil^^lHHl appears to 
have arrived at the conclusion that TN 4131 was an F-14 and posed 
a hostile threat to his ship . He accep ted without question the 
comMned reports of the TIC, B^^^^fl and the IDS, UUt) 
■^I^B as confirming an F-14.. He admits his judgement was CW^Ct^U) 
influenced by the July 4th intelligence warning, recent F-14 
deployment to Bandar Abbas, previous observations of an Iranian 
F-14 squawking Mode 11-1100, the Iranian P-3 to the northwest as 
a possible targeting platform, and the ongoing surface 
engagement . 

(2) (U) 



In the final minute and forty seconds, 

'_ tells his Captain, as a fact, that the aircraft 

has veered from the flight path into an attack profile, and is 

rapidly descending at increasing speed directly toward USS 

VINCENNES. Even though the tone of these reports must have 

seeme^increasingly hysterical (yelling and shouting), ^^BI^B ^^^^^ 

■^^^^I^^BH niade no attempt to confirm the reports on his Oo^O*^^) 

own. Quick reference to the CRO on the console directly in front 

of him would have immediately shown increasing not decreasing 

altitude. Rather, this experienced and highly qualified officer, 

despite all of his training, relied on the judgement of one or 

two second class petty officers, buttressed by his own 

preconceived perception of the threat, to make an erroneous 

assessment to his Commanding Officer. As he said, "I had no 

reason to doubt them. I had to make a split second 

recommendation to the Commanding Officer, and I did." While many 

factors played in Captain Rogers' final dec ision to engage, the 

last report by ^■■■■■■■■I^HH^BI that the aircraft was 

rapidly descending directly toward the ship may have been 

pivotal. 




4. (U) The following actions by USCIWCCENT apply to this 
investigation: 

a. (|) Action will be directed to correct the guidance in 
Joint Task Force Middle East/Middle East Force internal 
directives that "all" tracks originating in Iran will be 
identified as "unknown assumed enemy." Further, the criteria 
which specifies an aircraft be identified as comm ercial if it is 
an o f i^^^^^^^^HHH^^^^H^^^^BB^^^^m^H 





GEORGE B. CRIST 
General, USMC 
Commander in Chief 



CLASSIFIED BY: USCINCCENT 
DECLASSIFY ON; OADR 



..-r, r n r -.. 



6 



1320 

28 Jul 88 



From: 
To: 

Subj; 



Ref ! 



End: 



Rear Admiral William M. Fogarty, USN 
Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command 

FORMAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING 
THE DOWNING OF A COMMERCIAL AIRLINER BY THE USS VINCENNES 
(CG 49) ON 3 JULY 1988 (U) 



(a 

(1 

(2 

(3 

(4 
(5 
(6 

(7 
(8 
(9 

(10 
(11 



(12 

(13 
(14 

(15 
(16 
(17 
(18 
(19 
(20 

(21 
(22 

(23 

(24 



JAG Manual 

Record of Hearing {'Sm^ (w/table of contents and 

glossary of abbreviations) /Exhibits (ClTP) 

USCINCCENT 202256Z JUL 88? Subj: STATUS OF EFFORTS 

TO LOCATE BLACK BOX FROM IRAN AIR FLT 655 

USS VINCENNES 202049Z JUL 88; Subj: INVESTIGATION 

MATTERS (data breakout) 

Link II Data Exchange Chart 

Air tracks in system from 06:53-06:55 

NAVSWC DAHLGREN 080516Z JUL 88; Subj: DATA 

EXTRACTION FROM USS VINCENNES TAPES {'ttff^ 

IFF information from C&D/IFF interface 

Link IFF tracks 

CJTFME 210610Z JUL 88; Subj: COMMERCIAL AIR SAFETY 
STATUS REPOR T 

of ^H^H^^^^^H 

USCINCCCENT 21030az JUL 88; Subj: U.S. 
INVESTIGATION INTO IRAN AIR INCIDENT; REQUEST FOR 
ICAO ASSISTANCE 

Messages requesting assistance in obtaining IR 655 
Black Box 

Messages pertaining to data analysis 

AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 230936Z JUL 88; Subj: REQUEST 

FOR OFFICIAL AIR TRAFFIC CONT ROL (ATC) INFORMATION 

of i^^^HHI^^^^I 

Messages rel ating to ESM I nformation 
of ^■■■■^^■B 

Statement of Medical Experts 

Investigating Team Background Information 

USDAO MUSCAT 241708Z JUL 88; Subj: IRANIAN AIRCRAFT 

MIMICS U.S. IFF SQUAWKS 

Message relating to commercial air safety 

Boyes, J. L., "Testing Human Stress in C3I", SIGNAL, 

March 1987 

ADMINSUPU BAHRAIN 270850Z JUL 88; Subj: MEDICAL 
ASSISTANCE FOR USS VINCENNES (/) 

USCINCCENT 251457Z JUL 88; Subj: COMMERCIAL AIR 
SAFETY OVER THE PERSIAN GULF; AND USCINCCENT 251431Z 
JUL 88; Subj: PERSIAN GULF/NOTAM 



1* (U) As directed by Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command, 
and in accordance with reference (a), a formal investigation was 
convened on 3 July 1988. The original record of hearings and 
additional documents are forwarded as enclosures (1) through 



2. (U) The Investigating Officer, after inquiring in to all 
facts and circumstances connected with the incident which 
occasioned the investigation, and having considered the evidence, 
submits the following preliminary statement, executive summary, 
findings of fact, opinions and recofflmendations; 



(24). 




2 



I. PRELIMINARY STATEMENT 



1. (U) By order of General George B. Crist, USMC, Commander in 
Chief, U.S. Central Command, dated 3 July 1988, Rear Admiral 
William M. Fogarty, USN, Director, Policy and Plans (J-5), U.S. 
Central Command, was appointed to conduct a formal investigation 
into the circumstances surrounding the downing of a commercial 
airliner by the ;USS VINCENNES on 3 July 1988. 

2. (u) The formal investigation was conducted at the 
Administrative Support Unit, Bahrain, with preliminary interviews 
and information gathering conducted by the investigating team on 
board USS VINCENNES (CG 49), USS ELMER MONTGOMERY (FF 1082), USS 
SIDES (FFG 14), and USS CORONADO (AGF 11), flagship for 
Commander, Joint Task Force Middle East (CJTFME). 

3. (U) Rear Admiral Fogarty, and an investigating team composed 
of five officers, arrived in Bahrain on the evening of 5 July 
1988. Brief summaries of the service assignments of the team 
members are provided at enclosure (19). Preliminary interviews 
began on board participating units on 6 July 1988. Two 
additional investigating team members arrived 9/10 July 1988, 
one by way of Commander, Seventh Fleet, where he gathered 
informa tion on the USS VINCEN NES pre-deployment training. 
CJTFME, ^^■■■■^mBH; USS VINCENNES Commanding Officer, 
CAPT W. Rogers, USN; USS VINCENNES F orce Anti-Air Warfare 
Coordinator (FAAWC), ^BM^H^BHlLand USS VINCENNES 
Tactical Action 1 1 1 I 1 1 i i I I n 1 1 ) ^BBB^B^^^^BM were 
designated as parties to the investigation. Formal hearings 
began on 13 July 1988 and closed on the afternoon of 19 July 
1988. ^ 



4. (U) The investigation inquired into all the events which 
occurred prior to, during, and immediately following the 
engagement of Track Number (TN) 4131, later identified as Iran 
Air Flight 655. This designation of TN 4131 is used 
interchangeably with Iran Air Flight 655 throughout the 
investigation. There were specific, technically complex issues 
that required the Investigating Officer to call upon the 
professional expertise of the Commander, Naval Surface Weapons 
Center (NSWC), Dahlgren, and NAVSEA (PMS-400) personnel. The USS 
VINCENNES data recording tapes were hand delivered under chain- 
of-custody immediately following the incident to NSWC Dahlgren. 
After initial data reduction in the United States, technical 
representatives from NWSC Dahlgren, led by ^^^■^■^^■^H 
■■1 AEGIS Program Office, and NAVSEA (PMS-400') representatives 
came to Bahrain and provided further analysis on-^he following 
matters: " — ' 



a. AEGIS Weapon System Mark 7 performance and operation; 

b. Performance and operation of the AN/SPY- lA radar; 

c. Operation and message content in Link 11; 



3 



d. UPX-29 IFF operations; 

e. Reconstruction o£ Command and Decision (C&D) console 
operator actions; 

f. Comparison of tape data analysis with statements by 
operators; 

g. C&D doctrine enabled and entered; 

h. Internal voice configuration and capability; and, 
i* Environmental effects on system performance. 

5. (U) As the investigation progressed, the statements and 
testimony of the witnesses were integrated into the timeline 
extracted from the data reduction, to form a chronology of the 
engagement. That chronology is attached as I.O, Exhibit (104) to 
the hearing. Timelines became essential elements of the 
investigation, particularly as regards the short time period 
(minutes and seconds) in which the Commanding Officer was 
required to make his decision to fire. This time period is 
referred to as the "critical time period" throughout the report. 

6. (M) Because of a divergence between the recorded data on the 
USS VINCENNES's tapes and the recollection of the witnesses 
concerning what they saw and when they reported what they saw, a 
USN Medical Corps Team consisting of a psychiatrist and a 
physiologist were requested by the Senior Investigating Officer 
to come to Bahrain. They arrived in Bahrain after the formal 
hearing closed. They were requested to determine whether the 
dynamics of the situation which confronted the crew of the USS 
VINCENNES impacted on their ability to perceive and relay the 
data which was available to them. Their analysis is provided at 
Enclosure (18). 

7. (U) Certain items relevant to the investigation were not 

available to the Senior Investigating Officer. These items were 
primarily those which Iran could best provide (black box, 
recovery of wreckage, manifest, list of deceased, etc.). 
Requests for assistance through diplomatic channels were 
submitted via Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command, to obtain 
this information for inclusion in the report of investigation as 
appropriate. (End 12). 

8. (U) Enclosures (2) through (24) contain information relevant 
to the investigation, but were obtained or prepared after the 
adjournment of the investigation hearing. 

9. (U) Certain intelligence statements were prepared utilizing 
documents or sources classified higher than SECRET /NOFORN 
Dissemination. References to those documents are contained in 
I.O. Exhibit (232). Copies of the actual documents in I.O. 
Exhibit (232) will be retained in the Special Security Office, 
U.S. Central Command. 

10. (U) All times listed in the findings of fact and opinions are 



4 



"S" time. 
U 

11. {f) During the investigation, the importance of the 
information being presented by way of the USS VINCENNES Large 
Screen Displays (LSD) became apparent. Therefore, an explanation 
of that system's capabilities and limitations is provided here 
for the benefit of the reviewer. 

The AEGIS Large Screen Display (LSD) is a part of the AEGIS 
Display System (ADS) and is a primary visual information source 
for the CO, TAO and Force Warfare Commanders. It consists of 
four 42" X 42" flat, vertically mounted, 2-dimensional displays 
which display the tactical picture contained in the C&D 
computers. This information is displayed as Navy Tactical 
Display System (NTDS) symbology with appropriate velocity 
leaders. The range scales can be varied from 8 to 2048 nautical 
miles. Geographic outline maps as well as operator selectable 
line segments, points, circles and ellipses can also be 
displayed. These latter items can be used to construct 
operational areas, geographic features, range rings, air lanes, 
etc. The display operator can also attach a 24 character alpha- 
numeric label (or "tag") to any track or point. Therefore the 
track classification, ID, position relative to other tracks, 
range, bearing, course and speed as well as position relative to 
geographic features or airlanes, etc., can be displayed. 
However, it is important to note, thai altitude cannot be 
displayed on the LSO in real-time. 
U 

12. (/) TN 4133, which lifted off from Bandar Abbas shortly 
after TN 4131, is used as the identifier for an Iranian C-130. 

13. (U) A glossary of abbreviations used throughout the report 
has been compiled and is attached at the end of the transcript of 
the proceedings. 

U 

14. if) The Report of Investigation is formatted to give the 
reviewer a general overview of the events surrounding the 
incident in the Executive Summary. The Findings of Pact are 
arranged with background on the intelligence and operational 
picture in the Persian Gulf to provide the reviewer with 
essentially the same data which was available to CJTPME and the 
USS VINCENNES on 3 July 1988. Environmental factors, commercial 
air information, data on Iran Air Flight 655, and relevant 
portions of the Peacetime Rules of Engagement (ROE) are then 
treated as discrete blocks of information before addressing the 
USS VINCENNES training and readiness, watch organization, overall 
combat system status, communications, and combat systems 
doctrine. With the foundation thus laid, the actual events of 3 
July 1988 which led to the downing of TN 4131 are examined 
beginning with the surface engagement which formed an integral 
part of the decision process of the Commanding Officer, USS 
VINCENNES. The USS VINCENNES data recordings have enabled the 
investigation to break the critical time period, which comprised 



5 



the air engagement, into a minutes and seconds sequence of 
specific actions as they occurred along a timeline. Finally, 
post-incident search and rescue efforts, and after action reports 
are addressed. Opinions and Recommendations conclude this 
report . 



.: .;; .': '•■ " '•• •= •■■ • - ■ ■ 
II. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 

A. INTRODUCTION. 

1. (U) On 3 July 1988, the USS VINCENNES (CG 49), operating in 
the Southern Persian Gulf as a unit assigned to Commander, Joint 
Task Force Middle East, downed a civilian airliner, Iran Air 
Flight 655 on a routine scheduled flight from Bandar Abbas to 
Oubai, with two SM-2 missiles. 

U 

2. (^) The material condition, combat systems, training and 
personnel readiness of the ship were satisfactory. 

3. (U) The following narrative summarizes the events leading 
up to and including the downing of Iran Air Flight 655. It is in 
the form of a chronology because the situation leading up to, 
just prior to, and during the few critical minutes from Iran Air 
Flight 655 takeoff to downing are considered important to a full 
understanding of the incident. All times in the report are "Z" 
time. 

B. PRE - 3 JULY SCENARIO. 

1. (OUF ) In the three day period prior to the incident, there 
was heightened air and naval activity in the Persian Gulf. Iraq 
conducted air strikes against Iranian oil facilities and 
shipping 30 June through 2 July 1988. Iranian response was to 
step up ship attacks. Additionally, Iran deployed two, possibly 
three, F-14's from Bushehr to Bandar Abbas, U.S. Forces in the 
Persian Gulf were alerted to the probability of significant 
Iranian military activity resulting from Iranian retaliation for 
recent Iraqi military successes. That period covered the fourth 
of July holiday weekend* 

U 

2. («fr) During the afternoon and evening hours of 2 July 1988 
and continuing into the morning of 3 July 1988, Iranian 
Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) armed small boats (Boghammers, and 
Boston Whalers) positioned themselves at the western approach to 
the Strait of Hormuz (SOH). From this position, they were 
challenging merchant vessels, which has been a precursor to 
merchant ship attacks. On 2 July 1988, USS ELMER MONTGOMERY was 
located sufficiently close to a ship attack in progress as to 
respond to a request for distress assistance and to fire warning 
shots to ward off IRGC small boats attacking a merchant vessel. 

C. 3 JULY SURFACE ENGAGEMENT 

U 

1. (jg) On the morning of 3 July 1988, USS ELMER MONTGOMERY was 
on patrol in the northern portion of Strait of Hormuz Western 
Patrol Area (SOHWPA). At approximately 0330Z, USS MONTGOMERY 
observed seven small Iranian gunboats approaching a Pakistani \ 
merchant vessel. The small boats were reported by USS MONTGOMERY 

7 

r*". v7^ '-^'X ■-•~>~"^ i'K r> >"< • 



to have manned machine gun mounts and rocket launchers. Shortly 
thereafter, USS MONTGOMERY observed a total of 13 Iranian gun 
boats breaking up into three groups. Each group contained 3 to 4 
gun boats with one group of four gun boats taking position off 
USS MONTGOMERY'S port quarter. At 0411Z, USS MONTGOMERY heard 
the gun boats over bridge to bridge challenging merchant ships in 
the area. USS MONTGOMERY then heard 5 to 7 explosions coming 
from the north. At 0412Z, "Golf Sierra" (COMDESRON 25) directed 
USS VINCENNES to proceed north to the. vicinity of USS MONTGOMERY 
and investigate USS MONTGOMERY* s report of small boats preparing 
to attack a merchant ship. USS VINCENNES 's helo (Ocean Lord 
25/LAMPS MK-III helo) on routine morning patrol, was vectored 
north to observe the Iranian small boat activity. USS VINCENNES 
was also monitoring a routine maritime patrol of an Iranian P-3 
operating to the west. At approximately 0615Z, the USS 
VINCENNES* 3 helicopter was fired upon by one of the small boats. 
USS VINCENNES then took tactical command of USS MONTGOMERY and 
both ships proceeded to close the position of the helicopter and 
the small boats at high speed. As USS VINCENNES and USS 
MONTGOMERY approached the position of the small boats, two of 
them were observed to turn towards USS VINCENNES and USS 
MONTGOMERY. The closing action was interpreted as a 
demonstration of hostile intent. USS VINCENNES then requested 
and was given permission by CJTFME to engage the small boats with 
gunfire. At approximately 0643Z, USS VINCENNES opened fire and 
was actively involved in the surface engagement from the time 
Iranian Air Flight 655 took off from Bandar Abbas through the 
downing of Iran Air Flight 655. 

y 

2. (jS). During the course of the gun engagement of the Iranian 
small boats, the USS VINCENNES, at -approximately 0654Z, had 
maneuvered into a position 1 mile west of the centerline of 
civilian airway Amber 59. The USS SIDES, transiting from east to 
west through the SOH, was approximately 18 miles to the east and 
became involved in the evolving tactical situation. 

D. BANDAR ABBAS /IRAN AIR FLIGHT 655/AIR ENGAGEMENT 
0 

1. (««e) On 3 July 1988, at approximately 0647Z, an Iran Air 
Airbus 300, Iran Air Flight 655, took off from the Bandar Abbas 
joint military/ civilian airport destined for Dubai airport. 

The flight was a routine scheduled, international flight via 
commercial airway Amber 59. 

U 

2. («») Iranian military authorities have in the past 
notified the commercial tower at Bandar Abbas when hostilities 
were in progress in a given area. No such notification was made 
to Iran Air Flight 655 prior to or during the course of the 
incident. 

0 

3. (OHr') An Iranian military C-130 took off approximately 7 
minutes after Iran Air Flight 655, and a number of Iranian F-4's 



8 



were observed to be operating in the area of Bandar Abbas 
approximately 30 minutes after the incident. 
U 

4. {«wr) Iran Air Plight 655 took off on runway 21 (heading 
210 degrees true), was directed by the Bandar Abbas Tower to 
squawk IFF mode III code 6760, and began a normal climb out to 
assigned altitude of 14,000 feet for the flight, which lasted a 
total of 7 minutes before the plane was hit by the missiles from 
USS VINCENNES. The pilot remained within the Amber 59 air 
corridor (20 miles wide, 10 miles each side of centerline), made 
a routine position report to Bandar Abbas departure control at 
approximately 0654Z, and was ascending through 12,000 feet at a 
speed of approximately 380 kts at the time of making his report. 

U 

5. (^) At approximately 0654Z, the missiles fired from USS 
VINCENNES impacted the aircraft at an altitude of 13,500 feet, 
approximately 8 miles from USS VINCENNES, with Iran Air Flight 
655 still in its assigned air corridor. Debris from the aircraft 
and a significant number of bodies were found 6.5 miles east of 
Hengham Island at 26-37 . 75 'N/56-01 'E. While no passenger 
manifest nor list of deceased has been released by Iran, various 
sources have established that some 290 persons from six nations, 
were on board Iran Air Flight 655. 

6. VINCENNES CRITICAL DECISION WINDOW 

U 

(a) (^) At approximately 0647Z - Iran Air Flight 655 was 
detected by the USS VINCENNES *s ,AN/SPY-1A radar bearing 025 
degrees, 47NM, at 900 feet and seconds later was assigned TN 
4131. At approximately 0648Z, USS SIDES detected Iran Air 
Flight 655, bearing approximately J55 degrees, range 
approximately 32 miles at 1500 feet altitude. The aircraft 
continued to close USS VINCENNES with a constant bearing, 
decreasing range. At approximately 0649Z, USS VINCENNES issued 
warnings on Military Air Distress (MAD) (243.0mhz) and at 0650Z 
began warnings on International Air Distress (IAD) (121.5mhz) to 
TN 4131 located 025 degrees, 40NM from USS VINCENNES. 

(b) if) At approximately 0650Z - Several USS VINCENNES CIC 
personnel heard, on internal Combat Information Center (CIC) 
voice circuits, a report of F-14 activity which they believed 
originated from Ship's Signal Exploitation Space (SSES). A 
momentary mode 11-1100 IFF indication was detected which was 
correlated with an Iranian F-14. This was reported throughout 
CIC over internal CIC voice circuits. Continuous MAD and IAD 
warnings were ordered at 30NM (5 total warnings on MAD and 4 
total warnings on IAD). USS VINCENNES continued the surface 
engagement and experienced a foul bore in Mount 51. In order to 
unmask the after gun mount, full rudder (at 30 knots) was 
applied. This added to the increasing tension in CIC. 

\ 



9 



u 

(c) if) At approximately 0651Z - As TN 4131 closed to 
28NM, USS VINCENNES informed CJTFME via the Middle East Force 
execution net that she had a closing Iranian F-14 which she 
intended to engage at 20NM unless it turned away. USS VINCENNES 
requested concurrence. CJTFME concurred but told USS VINCENNES 
to warn the aircraft before firing. Warnings continued, but no 
response from TN 4131 was received, nor did it turn away. 

U 

(d) if) At approximately 0652Z - Warnings continued over 
both IAD and MAD. Still no response. Although TN 4131 reached 
the 20NM point, the CO decided not to engage. The order was 
given to illuminate the contact with fire control radar. There 
were no ESM indications. TN 4131 was ascending through 10,000 
feet. 

0 

(e) if) At approximately 0653Z - At 15-16NM, the last 
warning over IAD was given by USS SIDES to the aircraft bearing 
204 degrees to USS VINCENNES, range 15.5 miles. During the last 
30 seconds of this minute, the CO made his decision to engage TN 
4131. 

(f) iSS) At approximately 06:54:05 - The CO turned the 
firing key. At approximately 06:54:22, two SM-2 Blk II missiles 
left the rails. Twenty one seconds later, they intercepted Iran 
Air Flight 655 at a range of 8NM from USS VINCENNES at an 
altitude of 13,500 feet. 

E. POST INCIDENT INVESTIGATION 
0 

1. ip) The focus of this investigation was on the key 
factors that figured in the determination of what information was 
available to the Commanding Officer upon which to base his 
decision to engage TN 4131, the validity of that data, and what 
other factors entered into his decision making process. 
Essential to this determination was a detailed examination of the 
USS VINCENNES 's data reduction tapes, which portray second-by- 
second the position, kinematics, IFF information and Link eleven 
(11) message flow of all contacts held by the USS VINCENNES *s 
AEGIS Weapon System. Immediately following the incident, USS 
VINCENNES 's AEGIS data recording tapes were transported to the 
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, Virginia for data 
extraction and evaluation. The data extracted depicted the Iran 
Air Flight 655 flight profile from first detection to missile 
intercept. Further, the data allowed reconstruction of all 
"button actions" by Command and Decision (C&D) console operators 
in CIC and the information available to them on their console 
read-outs. Crucial to the investigation became close examination 
of the approximately 3 minute 45 second period just prior to the 
Commanding Officer's final decision to fire. During this period, 
verbal reports were being made by one of the console operators 
over internal circuits of decreasing range and altitude. 
Additionally, the fact that the range of TN 4131 was rapidly 



10 



approaching the final weapons release point for the incoming 
aircraft factors into the decision to fire. Also crucial to the 
investigation was the explanation (where possible) of the 
divergence between the data available in the AEGIS system 
derived from the data reduction tapes and the reports received by 
the CO and "GW" (the CO's principal air war advisor), especially 
the reports of "F-14", "Mode II code 1100 IFF", and "decreasing 
altitude", 
U 

2. The data from USS VINCENNES's tapes, information from 

USS SIDES and reliable intelligence information^ corroborate the 
fact that TN 4131 was on a normal commercial air flight plan 
profile, in the assigned airway, squawking Mode III 6760, on a 
continuous ascent in altitude from takeoff at Bandar Abbas to 
shoot down. 



11 



III. FINDINGS OF FACT 



A. SETTING THE STAGE 

1. Intelligence Background , 
a. The Gulf War 

(1) (U) The war between Iran and Iraq is the latest 
iteration of a conflict dating back a thousand years. (10 
Exhibit 14, FICPAC GULF THREAT. ORIENTATION) . 

(2) (U) Although Iraq used its superior Air Force 
to target Iranian oil installations around the head of the Gulf 
and Kharg Island early in the war, the purchase of EXOCET 
missiles from France in 1983 provided Iraq with a credible ship 
attack capability. Anti-shipping strikes commenced in 1984. (10 
Exhibit 14, FICPAC GULF THREAT ORIENTATION). 

(3) (U) Iraq's intent on conducting anti -shipping 
attacks was to put economic pressure on Iran by seeking to limit 
Iran's oil revenue and to bring an end to the larger ground war. 
Iran responded in kind by striking tankers in 1984 to prevent 
war supplies from reaching Iraq. (10 Exhibit 14, FICPAC GULF 
THREAT ORIENTATION). 

(4) (U) Since the start of the Gulf War, as a subset 
of the larger Iran/ Iraq War, th ere has b een a history of 
violence in the Persian Gulf. (Hl^^^l' P<6)« 

U 

(5) («l^) The Gulf War intensified in 1987 when Iraq 
used its Air Force to conduct an aggressive campaign against 
Iranian oil facilities and shipping. The campaign was centered 
in the Central Persian Gulf (CPG) and intensified in May 1987, 
apparently reflecting an Iraqi decision to take greater risks to 
successfully strike Iranian shuttle tankers. These expanded 
operations culminated in the 17 May 1987 erroneous attack on USS 
STARK. (10 Exhibit 14, FICPAC GULF THREAT ORIENTATION). 

(6) (U) The United Stat es commen ced escorting . 
Kuwaiti reflagged tankers in 1987. (■■■H, p. 6-7) ^^^^ 1< v 

u ^^^^^ W»^^^ 

(7) («IP«) Iran viewed the escorting of merchant 
ships in the Gulf by the United States as provocative because it 
inhibited its ability to attack shipping in retaliation for 
Iraqi attacks on their facilities and shipping. (10 Exhibit 14, 
Intelligence Background Briefing). 

U 

(8) («*^) In addition to its strikes against neutral 
shipping by aircraft, Iran conducted ship attacks with surface \ 
ships and small boats. Additionally, Iran also placed six moored 
mine fields across the Persian Gulf and in the Gulf of Oman in an 



12 



effort to sink US warships and stop convoy operations. These 
mine fields resulted in severe damage to both BRIDGETON in July 
1987 and USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS in April 1988. (10 Exhibit 14, 
Intelligence Background Briefing). 

U 

(9) ( our ) Attacks against shipping in the latter 
part of 1987 and the first part of 1988 marked the most intensive 
anti-shipping operations by Iran during the war. The 
predominant Iranian attack platforms during this period were 
small boats employing 107mm rocket launchers, rocket propelled 
grenades, and small arms. Because of the use of various 
conventional and unconventional tactics, Iranian intentions in 
the Gulf were suspect at ail times. (10 Exhibit 14, FOSIF 
WESTFAC 060847Z MAY 88). 

U 

(10) («!l!^) Anti-shipping warfare profiles show that 
Iran conducted 88 ship attacks in 1987. 72% of these occurred in 
the shipping routes between Abu Musa Island and the UAE. From 
November 1987 to April 1988, all ship attacks were conducted in 
the southern Persian Gulf (SPG). During 1987, 50% of the attacks 
were conducted at night. (10 Exhibit 14, FOSIF WESTPAC 060847Z 
MAY 88) 

U 

(11) (fltIP') Iran also fired 10 silkworm missiles at 
Kuwait, damaging 1 U.S. flag vessel (Sea Isle City) and another 
merchant tanker. In October 1987 the United States responded by 
an attack on the Iranian owned Rostam Oil platform (10 Exhibit 
14, Intelligence Background Brief) 

0 

(12) (OlfP) Seven additional silkworm sites were 
constructed in the. Strait of Hormuz area which threatened 
seaborne traffic through that choke point. (10 Exhibit 14, 
Intelligence Background Brief) 

U 

b. (eu^) Iranian Air Reaction to the U.S. retaliation 
April 1988 (Operation Praying Mantis). 

U 

(1) («») In retaliation for the mining of USS SAMUEL 
B. ROBERTS, the United States attacked the Iranian Sirri and 
Sasson offshore oil production facilities in the SPG on 18 April 
1988. In response to the U.S. operation, Iranian aircraft and 
warships deployed from Bandar Abbas to join Iranian Revolutionary 
Guard Corps (IRGC) small boats from Abu Musa Island and Qeshm 
Island in attacks on U.S. owned or associated oil rigs, platforms 
and jack -up rigs. During the engagement with U.S. forces, 2 
Iranian frigates and 1 missile patrol boat were sunk or severely 
damaged. Eleven F-4s scrambled during the day from Bandar Abbas. 
USS WAINWRIGHT launched missiles at one of the aircraft, 
damaging it when the aircraft failed to respond to repeated 
warnings and continued to close the ship (10 Exhibit 14, 
Intelligence Background Briefing). 



u 

(2) (Stf?) The preponderance of the action between 
U.S. and Iranian forces on 18 April 1988 during Operation Praying 
Mantis occurred in the same area where the 3 July 1988 incident 
with USS VINCENNES took place. (10 Exhibit 14, Intelligence 
Background Briefing). 

c. Iranian Aircraft Attacks on Shipping 
0 

(1) The Iranian Air Force and Iranian warships 
have conducted a total of 187 attacks on shipping since the 
campaign began in March 1984, most of those attacks occurred 
prior to August 1986. Fighter aircraft conducted a majority of 
these attacks using iron bombs and Maverick missiles. In 
comparison to the attacks conducted by the IRGC small boats, the 
air attacks were among the most damaging. (10 Exhibit 14, 
Intelligence Background Briefing). 

U 

(2) («tJ^) Following August 1986, Iranian fighter 
aircraft were rarely used in the ship attacks in an apparent 
attempt to conserve platforms. (10 Exhibit 14, POSIP WESTPAC 
060847Z MAY 88). 




(4) if) The Iranians have an inventory of over 1000 
Maverick missiles. Each missile can be launched from ranges of 
.5 to 13 NM and television guided* The launching aircraft must 
be able to keep visual track of the target but does not have to 
illuminate the target with radar. (10 Exhibit 14, Possible 
Iranian F-14 Weapons ) . 

(5) (^H) Although there has been no record of F-14s 
being used for iron bomb attacks, the aircraft is capable of 
being modified to be used in that role. To use iron bombs, the 

F-14 would have to close to within |^^| of the target. That wUj 
information was included in the intelligence information provided 
to USS VINCENNES on inchop. (10 Exhibit 14, Intelligence 
Background Briefing). 

U 

(6) (eiH^) The most recent, confirmed Iranian Air 
Force anti -shipping attack was on 2 February 1988 when 2 Iranian 
F-4s launched two Maverick Missiles at the Liber ian Tanker, 
PETROBULK PILOT, at 30NM SSW of the point where USS VINCENNES 
launched its missiles on 3 July. (10 Exhibit 14, Intelligence 
Background Briefing). 

U ^ 

(7) («t*^) The IRGC is reportedly training pilots to 

fly suicide missions. (10 Exhibit 14, FOSIF WESTPAC 061020Z APR 



14 



1988). 



d. Iranian Air Force Operations 3 June-3 July 1988 

U 

(1) Iranian Air Force operating patterns 
changed significantly, particularly at Bandar Abbas, in the month 
prior to 3 July 1988. Where heretofore the Iranian Air Force had 
generally operated single fighter combat air patrols (CAPs), they 
changed to 2 aircraft sections. Twenty-five 2-plane CAPs were 
flown between 2-15 June 1988 alone, representing a significant 
increase in the airborne activity from Bandar Abbas. (10 Exhibit 
14, Intelligence Background Briefing). 

U 

(2) (/) Iranian F-14's have been observed to fly at 
airspeeds of between 250 KTS while climbing to patrol station and 
350 - 400 KTS while on patrol. During air to ai r interce pts the 
F-14's have achieved speeds of 500 - 550 KTS. (HH^H P. 367). 

(3) («*IP) At least one, possibly 2 or 3 Iranian F- 
148 were transferred to Bandar Abbas from their home field at 
Bushehr on 25 June 1988. (10 Exhibit 14, Intelligence Background 
Briefing) . 

U 

(4) («W) The addition of the F-14s to the air order 
of battle at Bandar Abbas was perceived by CJTFME as a 
significant upgrade in Iranian air capability at Bandar Abbas. 
(10 Exhibit 14, Intelligence Background Briefing). 

U 

(5) («IP) USS VINCENNES was advised by CJTFME on 18 
June 1988 of the changing patterns of F-4s operating from Bandar 
Abbas: "All units are cautioned to be on the alert for more 
aggressive behavior. Reports of Iranian plans to reconvert some 
F-4s for air to ground roles using iron bombs. Mavericks, 
Iranian produced 440 lb bombs, or unguided 'Eagle* missiles would 
all point toward an offensive, vice defensive capability" (10 
Exhibit- 14, CJTFME 181225Z JUN 88). 

U 

(6) («J^) USS VINCENNES was advised on 20 June 1988 
of modifications to Iranian aircraft including F-4's. "Iran is 
clearly working hard to develop an ant i -shipping capability as 
well, and innovative techniques of adapting air defense weapons 
systems for ASM purposes are continuing." (10 Exhibit 14, 
CJTFME//J2//200510Z JUN 88). 

u 

(7) im^) USS VINCENNES was advised on 26 June 1988 
of the unprecedented deployment of Iranian F-14's to Bandar 
Abbas: "The P-14 deployment represents an increased threat to 
allied aircraft operating in SOH, SPG, and GOO." (10 Exhibit 14, 
CJTFME// J2//260900Z JUN 88). 

e. The Iranian Posture 25 June-2 July 

15 



(1) In the week preceding the USS VINCENNES 
incident the Iraqi Air Force stepped up its attacks on Iranian 
oil facilities and shuttle convoys in the Northern Persian Gulf 
(NPG). Iranian reaction to these successful Iraqi attacks was 
anticipated by CJTFME and they warned the Middle East Force, 
including USS VINCENNES, on 2 July 1988. (10 Exhibit 14, 
Intelligence Background Briefing), 

U 

(2) USS VINCENNES was apprised of the general 
Iranian situation on 30 June and 1 July, specifically that 
because Iraq had extended its successes in the ground war to the 
NPG with a renewed air campaign against Iranian shipping and oil 
facilities, Iranian reaction should be expected. "...in the 
meantime, anticipate IRGC ship attacks in retaliation for Iraqi 
Air Force attacks on Iranian shuttle tankers." (10 Exhibit 14, 
CJTFME//J2//0212900Z July 1988). 

U 

(3) (e«P») The significant Air Order of Battle at 
Bandar Abbas as of 3 July 1988 was: at least 1 F-14, 
approximately 6 operational F-4's, and 1 C-130. (10 Exhibit 14, 
Intelligence background Brief). 

U 

(4) (-etJ^) The F-14 flights from Bandar Abbas during 
this period were: 



25 


June 


- patrol 


(0500-0600Z) 


26 


June 


- patrol 


(1300-1400Z) 


27 


June 


- patrol 


(0500-07002) 


28 


June 


- patrol 


C1300-1400Z) 


29 


June 


- patrol 


(0700-0900Z) 


30 


June 


- patrol 


(0500-0600Z) 


1 


July 


- patrol 


(0700-0900Z) 


2 


July 


- patrol 


(0700-.0900Z) 



(10 Exhibit 14, Iranian Air Force Activity from Bandar Abbas). 



f. Activity on 2 July, 1988 - The Maersk Attack 

(1) (A») At 021600Z the Danish ship, KARMA MAERSK, 
outbound from Saudi Arabia, was repeatedly, though 
unsuccessfully, attacked by IRGC small boats staging out of Abu 
Musa Island at a point 20NM SW of that island. (10 Exhibit 14, * 
Intelligence Background Brief). 



16 



u 

(2) (flifr) The KARAMA ^4AERSK issued a "MAYDAY" 
requesting assistance and USS ELMER MONTGOMERY responded and 
observed several IRGC small boats fire 3 rockets at the Danish 
merchant at 1630Z. The IRGC boats included at least 1 Boghammer 
and 2 machine gun equipped Boston whalers. (10 Exhibit 14, USS 
MONTGOMERY 022230Z JUL 88, Intelligence Background Brief). 

U 

(3) The USS MONTGOMERY fired a warning shot at 
the small boats at about 1730Z and the boats retired to the NW. 
(10 Exhibit 14, CJTFME //J2//040030Z JUL 88). 



2. Operational Background 



a. (U) The Administrative and Operational Organization 
Charts for the JTFME are contained in this report as 10 Exhibit 
141. 

b. (U) ^■■I^^^^HBH USN, was CJTFME and 

designated "GB" (the radio call sign for the Officer in Tactical 
Command) on 3 July 1988. He and his staff were embarked in USS 
CORONADO (AFG 11). (10 Exhibits 61, 134, 141). 

c. (U) Commander Destroyer Squadron 25, was embarked in 
the USS JOHN HANCOCK (DO 981) and was designated "GS** (the radio 
call sign for the Surface Warfare Commander) by CJTFME. (10 
Exhibits 61, 141). 



(U) The Commanding Officer USS VZNCENNES (CG 49) was 
"GW" (the radio call sign for the Anti-Air Warfare 
(10 Exhibits 61, 141). 



d. 

designated 

Commander) by CJTFME 
U 

e. (/) The CJTFME command ship, USS CORONADO (AGF 11), 
had the following principal communication/ information equipment 
available: (1) SAG-A (UHF-Secure Voice); (2) CMEF execution net 
(UHF SATCOM Secure); (3) JOTS terminal; and (4) Link 11, receive 
only information which was displayed on the JOTS terminal. All 
equipment, with the exce ption of Link 11, was up and working. 
(10 Exhibit 140, ■■Hi P* 124, pp. 44.4-446). 

U 

f. if) CJTFME uses the JOTS system and voice 
communication as its primary means of keeping abreast of the 
tactical situation. dlHi^B' P* 445) 

q. (/)U Communications between CJTFME and USS VINCENNES 
ducted on the CMEF execution net (MEFEX). (10 Exhibit 



were con< 
128, 140, 



p. 443). 



h. (^) Key CJTFME personnel in flag plot during the 
engagement of the small boats and track 4131 were: 



(1) 



- CJTFME 

17 V r 




(10 Exhibits 128, 140, 



- Deputy CJTFME 

Chief of Staff, CJTFME 

Assistant Operations 
Officer, CJTFME 

Intelligence Officer, 
CJTFME 



p* 443). 



i. (U) COMAIR Schedules and routes were not plotted in 
Flag Plot but were available in- the. Operations Office. (10 
Exhibit 116). . 

3. Rules of Engagement . 

a* General 

(1) (U) The USS VINCENNES had on board a current copy 

p. 422). 



of the effective ROE for the Persian Gulf. 

g : 

(2) if) The primary responsibility of the Commanding 
Officer under the ROE is the defense of his ship from attack or 
the threat of imminent attack. (Exhibit 131, USCZNCCENT 232220Z 
MAY 88. ) 

U, 

(3) (jT) USCINCCENT, CJTFME and the on-scene 
commanders are all authorized to declare a foreign force hostile 
under circumstances which require immediate defensive action and 
do not allow time for communications with superiors. (10 Exhibit 
131, USCINCCENT 232220Z MAY 88. ) 



b. Surface 
U 

(1) (^) Overflight of nonpar ticipating littoral 
states or intrusion into their territorial waters or airspace is 
authorized in self-defense, or with prior permission from the 
state, or under emergency conditions. (10 Exhibit 131, 
USCINCCENT 232220Z MAY 88 para 5B), 

( 2) (| ) US units are generally required to maintain iWVC\^ 
a distance of ■■■ from belligerent craft in order to prevent the 
appearance of provocative action. Helicopters are permitted to CV^lC) 
ap proach closer for the purpose of visual identification. MinVLbS 
(^■■■p.478, 480). 



(3) (^) Iran has declared its coastal waters to be a 

exclusion/war zone. (10 Exhibit 133). 

U 

^^^^^ (4) (/) Iran claims a 12NM territorial sea. (b^{U^ 

(5) (/) The ROE prohibits intrusion into Iranian 

territorial waters or airspace except in the following 

circumstances: If a unit has been attacked by a hostile vessel 

or aircraft^ pursuit may be conducted into the offending 
belligerent's territorial waters or airspace if the hostile force 
continues to pose an imminent threat after entry into such waters 

or airspace. (10 Exhibit 131 CJTFME 232220Z MAY 88 para 6A}. 

U 

(6) if) Pursuit of hostile forces is permitted if it 
is initiated in response to, and in defense against the hostile 
acts or hostile intent of such forces. Pursuit will be 
terminated when the hostile force no longer poses an immediate 
threat. (10 Exhibit 131, USCINCCENT 232220Z MAY 88 para 3.L. ) 



Air 



(1) (/) All tracks originating in Iran will be 
identified as "unknown assumed enemy." (10 Exhibit 132). 




(10 Exhibit 132). 

U 

(3) (/) The ROE states that : Positive 
identification of an aircraft is mandatory before declaring the 
aircraft hostile and engaging it. The sole exception to this 
principle is an aircraft either demonstrating hostile intent or 
committing a hostile act. (10 Exhibit 131, USCINCCENT 232220Z 
MAY 88 para 5A) 




(10 Exhibit 131 CJTFME 232220Z MAY 88). 




(10 Exhibit 131 CJTFHE 232220Z MAY 88 para 8). 



U 

(6) (0) COMIDEASTFOR OPORD 4000-85 amplifies the ROE 
with regards to required warnings by stating: "Do not stop 
after just one step: If there is no response to radio 
requests /warnings, do something to attract attention. 
Subsequent warning actions to take include: 

U 

(a) (/} Locking on with fire control (radar) 

y 

(b) {0) Maneuvering to unmask weapons 
U 

(c) i$) Shooting flares 

U 

(d) (/) Flashing signal/search lights 

U 

(e) (^) Training guns 

U 

(f) {0) Fire warning shots (star shell, AAC 

timed to offset) 

0 

(g) (?) If you are confident that the warning 
has been received, and the contact continues to close, para 9 of 
reference (a) (Tab A to Appendix 8 to Annex C to COMIDEASTFOR 
OPORD 4000-85) applies." 

(10 Exhibit 137). 

U 

(7) {$) Tab A to Appendix B to Annex C to 
COMIDEASTFOR OPORD 4000-85 amplifying the ROE provides in 
paragraph 9: "If a potentially hostile contact persists in 
closing after you warn him away and if, in your judgement, the 
threat of attack is imminent, it is an inherent right and 
responsibility to act in self-defense. We do not want, nor 
intend, to absorb a first attack." (10 Exhibit 136) 

(8) (U) The following is quoted verbatim from 
paragraph 3, page c-8-A-l of Ch 2 dated Sept 1986 Tab A to 
Appendix 8 to Annex C to COMIDEASTFOR OPORD 4000-85 (U): Rules 
of Engagement, Supplemental Measures - "The most serious threat 
is that of terrorist/suicide attack. If such an attack occurs, 
it is most likely to happen from a craft (e.g. military cargo or 
surveillance aircraft, non-military boats or aircraft) which 
appears to be operating in a "normal" manner up to the point of 
attack. There is less danger of overt attack by Iranian or Iraqi 



21 



Naval ships and combatant military aircraft but that threat, too, 
is serious.'* (10 Exhibit 136). 



4. Environmental Data . 

a. (U) At 030400Z Jul 88, the following environmental 
data existed: 

(1) Wind Speed/Direction: lOKts/340 degrees T 

(2) Sea Temp: 30 degrees C 

(3) Air temp: 28.3 degrees C 

(4) Relative Humidity: 62% 

(5) Evaporation Duct Height: 78.5 ft 

(6) Surface Pressure: 998.0 MB 

(7) Visibility estimate was 8-10 miles 

(8) Ceiling: approximately 200 ft /scattered 
(I.e. Exhibit 177). 



b. (U) Predicated on the environmental data provided 

from USS VINCENNES on 3 July 1988, which is summarized in I.O. 
Exhibit 177, Joint Electronic Warfare Center (JEWC) San Antonio, 
Texas, concluded the following as regards ducting; 

U 

(1) (/) Atmospheric conditions suggest USS VINCENNES 
was operating with a strong surface based duct (extending up to 
approximately 485 ft) and also within an evaporation duct 
extending up to approximately 78 ft (10 Exhibit 179). 

U 

(2) (Jf) AN/SPy-1 (AEGIS radar), AN/AWG-9 (F-14 
radar) and AN/UPX-29 ( IFF ) emitters show strong coupling with 
these ducts greatly enhancing detection ranges. (10 Exhibits 
179) 

U 

(3) (/) The data provided by NSWC Dahlgren also 
validates that, in fact, SPY radar was ducting, resulting in 
greatly enhanced detection ranges. (10 Exhibits 86, 87, 88, and 
184) 

5. Commercial Air 



a. General 



Bandar Abbas International is a joint 
military /commercial airfield. (10 Exhibit 90, B|mp.418). 

(2) (U) A total of 18 commercial air routes cross the 
Persian Gulf ar ea cov ering at least 50% of the navigable waters. 
(10 Exhibit 90, ■■■ p.407)« 

(3) (U) A total of 12 commercial air routes cross 
the southern Persian Gulf /Strait of Hormuz area alone. 
Specifically, 7 into or out of Dubai /Sharjah Terminal Control 
Area and 5 into or out of Abu Dhabi Terminal Control Area. (10 
Exhibit 90). 

U 

(4) (/) Commerical air flights that do not approach 
Iran during any part of the flight or come from non-belligerent 
air space and are at the high altitudes normally flown by air 
carriers are relatively easy to identify. (Enclosure (21)). 

(5) (U) The width of the airway assigned to Iranian 
Air FLT 655 (A-59) was: 201IM (lONM either side of centerline) 
from Bandar Abbas to reporting position DARAX and lONM (5NM 
either side of center line to Sharjah. Airway A-59 runs from an 
altitude of 4500 feet to infinity. The total length of the air 
route is 123NM. (10 Exhibit 249). 

(6) (U). At least one thousand seven hundred and 
seventy- five commercial air flights passed through Oman Center 
for the week ending 13 July 1988. (^HH p* 410). 

U 

(7) ii) The only message traffic available to CJTFME 
on civilian airline schedules was the "FICPAC" message of 25 June 
1988. That message was readdressed to all CJTFME units on 28 
June 1988. (10 Exhibit 124, pgs* 394, 408). 

(8) (U) The CJTFME 's inchop brief discusses 
commercial air traffic in general but does not focus on any 
spe cific air routes or COMAIR schedules. (10 Exhibit 8 and 

■I^H p. 392). 

U 

(9) {0) CJTFME 's inchop brief discusses the use of 
MAD (Military Air Distress) and comments that, "Iranians won't 
answer nor will commercial aircraft". Moreover ships are told to 
use IAD (International Air Distress) to contact commercial 
aircraft and "unless you are up a regional ATC frequency, use IAD 
to try to contact ATC". (10 Exhibit 8, MEF Brief p. 4). 

(10) (U) The inchop brief alludes to the "very 
complex but ordered" commercial air picture. It cautions all 
units to be concerned with those air contacts which deviate from 
the normal pattern. (ID Exhibit 8, MEF Brief p. 3). 



23 



(11) (U) The first time that CJTFME promulgated 
commercial airline flight information to the ships in the Persian 
Gulf area was on 28 June 1988. This message showed IR 655 
scheduled to depart Bandar Abbas at 09 50L (0 620Z) on Tuesday and 
Sunday of each week. (10 Exhibit 124, p* 409). 

U 

(12) {$) The first documentation of conflict between 
civilian COMAIR and a CJTFME unit was on 8 June 1988 when the 
USS HALYBURTON issued nearly continuous challenges to an aircraft 
landing at Dubai International. British Airway FLT 147 
acknowledged the challenge, made the turn as directed by the USS 
HALYBURTON and immediately came into a "near miss" situation with 
another civilian aircraft. A formal protest was filed by ATC 
Dubai and an American Embassy letter of apology resulted. (10 
Exhibit 119, p. 274). 

0 

(13) (/) The only commercial/military IFF... 
information available to any JTFME unit were pass-down items from 
other Mi ddle Ea st Forc e ships. (10 Exhibits 120, 121, 122, 
■■■■p- 182, HHP. 197). 

u 

(14) if) U.S. ships deployed to Persian Gulf area are 
limited to a single VHF radio which is tuned to International 
Air Distress (IAD.) frequency 121.5mhz. It can take u pwards of 1 
hour to change pre-set radio VHF frequencies. 399). 

(15) (U) During USS VINCENNES inchop brief, conducted 
on 22 May, ■■^■B (CJTFME/Air Ops) and^lBB^^B 
(CJTFME/Asst Air Ops) briefed the Helo Det on helo ops but did 
not specifically discus s commercial air routes or schedules. (10 
Exhibit 8 p. 176, I^^B p* 392). 

(16) (U) On Sunday, 3 July 1988, there were 10 
civilian flights scheduled from Bandar Abbas. They werei 



FLT # 


TO 


DEPT TIME 


ACFT TYPE 


IR i>:>^ 


DUBAI 




AIRBUS 300 


IR 236 


BANDARLENGEH 


1240L 


737 


IR 236 


SHIRAZ 


1240L 


737 


IR 236 


TEHRAN 


1240L 


737 


IR 452 


TEHRAN 


1340L 


AIRBUS 300 


IR 394 


ISFAHAN 


1400L 


737 


IR 394 


TEHRAN 


1400L 


737 


IR 134 


SHIRAZ 


2050L 


737 


IR 134 


TEHRAN 


2050L 


737 


IR 458 


TEHRAN 


2245L 


AIRBUS 300 



There is no information to the contrary that the remaining 
flights did not launch. (10 Exhibit 162, 232). 



(17) (U) As a result of the attack of the USS STTIRK, 
the JCS issued an up-dated Notice to Airman (NOTAM) for the 



Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman and North Arabian 
Sea dated 8 September 1987, which notified all Persian Gulf 
countries of additional defense precautions which U.S. warships 
would be exercising. It highlighted the requirement for 
aircraft operating in the area to maintain a listening watch on 
121.5 nihz VHF or 234.0 mhz UHF. Both Department of State and 
ICAO report that this NOTAM was transmitted through channels to 
the Government of Iran. (10 Exhibit 52). 

U 

(18) (^) The current verbal warnings issued by CJTFME 
units do not clearly identify exactly which aircraft the ship is 
attempting to contact. (10 Exhibits 275, 306). 

U 

(19) (^) Commercial aircraft normally do not have 
radar homing and warning (RHAW) equipment. U.S. Navy ships 
either "locking up" with pulsed fire control or continuous wave 
radars expect no reaction from a commerical air flight. 
(Enclosure ( 21 ) ) . 

(20) (U) For the period of 2 June 1988 to 2 July 
1988, analysis of challenges and warnings conducted by CJTFME 
resulted in the following statistics: 



150 challenges were issued 
only 2 were to COMAIR (1.3%) 

(c) 125 were to Iranian military aircraft (83%) 

(d) Zjargest number of challenges issued were by 
the USS SPRUANCE patrolling the eastern entrance of the SOH. 

(10 Exhibit 118). 

U 

(21) if) No Iranian F-14's were challenged during the 
2 -17 June 1988 timeframe but seven were challenged in the 13 
June - .2 July 1988 time period. (10 Enclosure (21)). 

(22) (U) Commercial air carriers have been observed 
changing IFF codes when crossing the Persian Gulf area. (10 
Exhibits 54, 55, ^^HB 174, 194). 

(23) (U) Iranian military aircraft have been observed 
squawking all IFF modes (I, II, and III) and codes and at times 
follow commercial air routes within the Persian Gulf. (10 
Exhibit 15, 37, m| p. 195, fl^HB p. 7). 

(24) (U) Iraqi military aircraft have followed the 
air routes from Iraq during Persian Gulf ship attack profile 
(SAP) missi ons and r eturn using the same air routes. (10 
Exhibit 15, ^^^^B P* 

(25) (U) Iran Air Flight 655 a was regularly 
scheduled biweekly flight from Bandar Abbas to Shar jah, often 
referred to as a "HA J" flig ht bv ships * crews. (10 Exhibit 162, 
54, 55, 73, p. 175, 197). 



WW 



(26) ^CJTFME and CO USS VINCENNES discussed the 
complexity of the commer cial air picture on several occasions 
prior to 3 July 1988. (IHi P* 356, 861) 

U 

(27) i$) Airbus' normally climb at 350 - 370 KTS and 
cruise at 450 - 460 KTS. (10 Exhibit 238). 



b. Iran Air Flight 655. 

(1) (U) Iran Air Flight 655 Airbus, A-300B2-202, was 
delivered by the French Airbus Industrie on 30 April 1982 
configured with a standard civilian type Dual Collins 621-A6 IFF. 
The General Electric engines are identified as GE CF6-50C2. 
Airbus Industrie has never delivered an Airbus equipped with an 
IFF radar Mode II. (10 Exhibit 247). 

(2) (U) Bandar Abbas International is the only 
active, joint use (military/civilian) Irania n airpo rt in the 
southern Persian Gulf area. (10 Exhibit 90, p. 418). 

U 

(3) {$) Iran Air Flight 655 was scheduled to depart 
Bandar Abbas at 0950 (L) or 0620Z but actually took off at 1017 (L) 
or 0647Z. ^10 Exhibit 232 & 280). 

U 

(4) {$) Bandar Abbas control tower has in the past 
informed civilian airlines of ongoing hostilities in the SOH. 
(10 Exhibit 232). 

(5) (U) The control tower at Bandar Abbas failed to 
warn Iran Air Flight 655 that there was an ongoing naval 
engagement between U.S. Naval Forces and Iranian Revolutionary 
Guard naval forces (IRGN). (10 Exhibits 280, 232). 

U 

(6) (/) Iran Air Flight 655, on direction of the 
control tower at Bandar Abbas International, turned on its IFF 
Mode III to 6760 on deck prior to launch and the mode was read 
correctly by the tower as 6760. (10 Exhibit 280). 

U 

(7) {$) Iran Air Flight 655 took off from Bandar 
Abbas International Airfield on runway 21 at 0647Z. It was 
cleared to Dubai via A-59 at FL 140 {14,0OOFT) with an assigned 
IFF Mode III squawk of 6760. The pilot reported passing MOBET 
(position report) at 0654Z and vacating FL 120 (12,000 feet). 
(10 Exhibits 232, 235, 236, 280). 

U ^ 

(8) {§() Iran Air Flight 655 squawked Mode III 6760 
from take off to missile intercept. (10 Exhibits 91, 280). 

U 

(9) {$) IR 655 was 3.35NM west of the center line of 
air route A-59 at missile intercept, time 06:54:43, passing 



13,500 climbing to an assigned altitude of FL 140 (14,000FT), 
course of 209. 5T, at 383 KTS. (10 Exhibits 91 and 102), 



(10) (U) Air Traffic Control Center at Abu Dhabi 
neither gained radar video nor established communications with 
Iran Air Flight 655. (10 Exhibits 306, 275). 

6. USS VINCENNES 

a. Training and Readiness. 

(1) (U) USS VINCENNES deployed 25 April 1988, on 
short notice, to the Persian Gulf /Middle East Force. (10 
Exhibit 166: End 1 and 4). 

(2) (U) USS VINCENNES was directed on 20 April 1988 
to detach from FLEETEX 88-2 for immediate return to homeport and 
a 21 April 1988 deployment to the Persian Gulf /Middle East Force. 
USS VINCENNES transit was to be directly from San Diego to Subic 
Bay and onward to Middle East Force wj.th an arrival in the 
Persian Gulf of 16 May 1988. (10 Exhibit 166: End 2). 

M 

(3) (/) Upon notice of deployment on 20 April 1988, 
USS VINCENNES was in the highest state of training and readiness: 
CI in Personnel, Supply, Equipment and Training; Ml in AAW, AMW, 
ASW, ASUW, C3, EW, and training areas. (10 Exhibit 166: End 2A; 
Definitions of readiness and training ratings included in 10 
Exhibit 166: End 2B). 

g 

(4) (^) Prior to deployment on 25 April 1988, USS 
VINCENNES participated in interim refresher training (26 OCT - 6 
NOV 1987), FLEETEX 88-1/COMPUTEX 88-3 (1-12 FEB 88) and a portion 
of FLEETEX 88-2 (8-19 APR 88). On completion of interim 
refresher training, USS VINCENNES was found to be fully capable 
of performing duties as AAWC or LAAWC in Battle Group operations. 
(lO Exhibit 166: End 2b, 3a, 4, 2c). 

U 

(5) (/) During FLEETEX 88-1, USS VINCENNES 
participated in a Middle East Force Exercise (MEFEX) 5-8 FEB 88. 
This exercise simulated an "Earnest Will" escort mission, and 
provided: anti-Silkworm training, terrorist aircraft training, 
terrorist small boat defense, and anti-swimmer defense. (10 
Exhibit 166: End 2a, 3, 4, 2c). 

U 

(6) (/) USS VINCENNES did not complete FLEETEX 88-2 
due to her early deployment; however, USS VINCENNES participated 
in the following training evolutions during FLEETEX 88-2: 
extensive war-at-sea strike exercises (WASEX); Silkworm missile 
attacks; training in ROE; and fast patrol boat attack 
simulations. (10 Exhibit 166: End 2a, 3, 4, 2c). 



u 

(7) (/) A normal MEF augmenter pre-deployment schedule 
would have included in addition to the exercises listed in 
Finding of Facts A. 6. a. (4) ax^d (5), two Middle East Force 
Exercises (MEFEXs) at PMTC, PT Mugu, California, and PMRF Barking 
Sands, Hawaii. USS VINCENNES did not conduct these exercises 
because of her early deployment and accelerated transit to Subic 
Bay, RP. (10 Esdiibit 166, End 4). 

0 

(8) (/) USS VINCENNES was provided AEGIS Training 
Center Briefs on lessons learned on the operation of SPY-IA radar 
in the Strait. of Hormuz/Persian Gulf by AEGIS Training Center, 
Dahlgren, VA, while inport Subic Bay, RP, on 11 May 1988. (10 
Exhibit 166: End 8, 9, and 9a). 

U 

(9) (^) During a four day period (9-12 May), USS 
VINCENNES conducted the following Middle East Force training in 
the. Subic Bay operating areas: two missile firings ...(both 
successful), one war-at-sea strike exercise (against 17 
aircraft), CIWS tracking/firing, Silkworm profiles, air intercept 
controlling, anti-fast patrol boat exercises (night and day), 
surface gunnery, and surface to air gunnery. (ZO Exhibit 166: 
End 17, 18, 19, 20, and 20a). 

(10) (/) The WASEX conducted on 9 May 1988 included 
17 attacking aircraft: 10 USAF (4 Wild Weasel and 6 Pave Tack) 
and 7 USMC (4 A-6 and 3 F/A-18). A post exercise critique was 
conducted on 10 May with USAF, USMC, and USS VINCENNES personnel 
present. USS VINCENNES Large Screen Display (LSD) information 
was used to reconstruct the events of the exercise. This 
reconstruction revealed USS VINCENNES had to discriminate threat 
aircraft from numerous other air contacts in the area including 
USAF AIR-AIR missile participants and normal air traffic in the 
vicinity of Clark AFB and Crow Valley, RP. However, Mode IV IFF 
information was the primary source for identification and 
discrimination between friendly and belligerent aircraft. (10 
Eachibit 166: End 17 and 20a). 

(11) ih 

Prior to arrival Subic Bay, RP, USS 
VINCENNES modified her Battle Organization to conform to the 
expected "GW* assignment in the Middle East Force. In a meeting 
with the CO, XO, CSO and OPSO in attendance, the CO decided that 
CSO and OPS officer would stand watch as "GW", operating from the 
embarked commander's console (LSD #2). "GW" (CSO or OPSO) would 
then monitor the MEFEX communication net and provide the 
continuous connectivity both for air and surface SITREPS, in the 
traditional AAWC sense, as well as act as the primary point o f 
contact f or the sh ip over MEFEX net. (Rogers p. 834, H^HB p. wlW> 
809, 818, P* 788). 1^)1*1^0:.) 

(12) (/) By modifying the Battle Organization, the 
Commanding Officer did not intend that the "GW" position would 
usurp the authority of the TAO, but act in support of the TAO. 



28 



At General Quarters, it was intended that the TAO would direct 
the surface tactical picture, electronic information flow, 
employment of surface weapon systems, and ship's course and speed 
while monitoring the internal communication nets, and overall 
watchstanding performance. It was further intended that the "GW" 
position would monitor and direct the air picture, generate air 
and surface SITREPS to Gulf Bravo, provide ship's course and 
speed recommendations, and a ir threa t warning information to the 
CO and TAO. (Rogers p. 834, p* 818). 

U 

(13) {/) USS VINCENNES reported this Battle 
Organization modification was implemented during the transit from 
San Diego to Subic Bay, RP, and exercised during MEF training 
periods in Subic Bay, RP operating areas (9-12 May 1988) and 
during the JTFM E CVBG familiar ization tr aining (21-24 May 88). 
(Rogers p. 834, i^HB P* 809, ■■■■■ p. 788). 

(14) d) Three Rules of Engagement Exercises (ROEX) 
were conducted by USS VINCENNES during the period 6-20 May 88. 
These exercises tested USS VINCENNES 's interpretation and correct 
response to current ROE for the Persian Gulf/Middle East Force. 
(10 Exhibit I66i Ends 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26).. 

U 

(15) (/) USS VINCENNES chopped to CJTFME on 20 May 
1988 and was CI in areas of Personnel, Supply, Equipment and 
Training as well as being Ml in AAW, AMW, ASUW, ASW, CCC, ELW and 
MOB. (10 Exhibit 166: End 27). 

(16) U (/) USS VINCENNES CO, TAO and GW stated in 
their testimony that USS VINCENNES was well prepared for their 
assignment to the Middle East Force by virtue of their AW (in 
workup exercises), "GW" ex perienc e, and i n depth M EF augmenter 
training. (Rogers p. 835, I^^B P* 8^4, ^HI^B P* 804). 

0 

(17) (^) USS VINCENNES conducted Battle Group 
familiarization training with the CVBG assigned to JTFME in the 
Gulf of Oman (21-24 May 88) prior to entering the Persian Gulf. 
Exercises conducted provided training in: WASEX, Silkworm 
profiles, SUCAP coordination and A/C training. (10 Exhibit 166: 
End 28). 

U 

(18) {/) Summary of USS VINCENNES operations sxnce 
arriving in the Middle East Force: 



25 - 27 May 88 

29 May 88 

30 May 88 



Task Group Exercise 

Sitrah anchorage inchop briefings 

Sitrah anchorage AWACS/LINK 
interoperability 



01 - 08 Jun 88 



SOHWPA patrol 



29 



10 - 11 Jun 88 
12 - 16 Jun 88 

17 Jun 88 

18 Jun 88 
19 - 20 Jun 88 

21 - 29 Jun 88 

.30. Jun 88 

01 Jul 88 

02 Jul 88 

03 Jul 88 



Sitrah anchorage for upkeep 

SOHWPA patrol, conducting AAW and 
ASUW surveillance 

RPS patrol, conducting AAW 
surveillance 

Sitrah anchorage for upkeep 

RPS patrol, conducting AAW 
surveillance 

CPG/£scort, AAW surveillance and 
escort operations 

OPS outside Straits 

CPG (E)/SOHWPA/SOH/FUJAXRAH 

FUJAIRAH/SOH/SOHWPA, AAW and ASUW 
surveillance 

V 

CPG (E)/SOHWPA, AAW and ASUW 
surveillance 



(10 Exhibit 159). 



(19) (U) USS VZNCENNES had n ot exper ienced combat 
prior to 3 July 1988. (10 Exhibit 159, P* 816). 

b. Watch Organization 

(1) (U) USS VINCENNES' Battle Doctrine 
(VINCENNESINST C3510.1) was signed by CAPT G.N. Gee, USN, the 
Commanding Officer USS VINCENNES just prior to CAPT Rogers, on 1 
May 85. This document has subsequently been used as a baselin e 
for Pacific Fleet AEGIS cruisers. (10 Exhibit 160, and H^^B p 
809). 

U 

(2) ijf) CO USS VXNCENNES Standing, Steaming and 
Battle Orders were signed on 9 Jan 1988 by CAPT Rogers as a 
modification and sub-doctrine to USS VINCENNES Battle Doctrine. 
These Standing Orders state that only the CO/TAO have weapons 
release authority on USS VINCENNES. Specifically, weapons 
release authority is not delegated to those watchstanders 
standing force CWC duties, i.e. FAAWC/GW. (10 Exhibit 163, 

818). 



(3) (U) USS VINCENNES' watch organization during 
pre-deployment training was in accordance with CO's Battle 
Doctrine and Standing Orders. (10 Exhibit 160, 809). 



(4) (U) The CO modified basic Battle Doctrine for PG 
Ops by placing the SITREP officer at OSDA #1 and International 
Air Distress (IAD) operator at LSD #1. He also placed the data 
recorder (CICO) directly behind LSD #2 and #3 to maintain a 
timeline of events. The CI CO was in v iew of all large screens 
and could see "GW's" CRD. (Bi^HHP* ^70). 

(5) (U) On 3 Jul 88, USS VINCENNES ' primary AAW watch 
organization was as follows: 



CO 

XO 

TAO 

OSDA 

GW/FAAWC 

CIC OFFICER 

IAD TALKER 

CSC 

TIC 

IDS 

SLQ-32 

EWS 

MSS 

RCS 

ARC 

AAWC 

ACS 



CAPT ROGERS 




(on the bridge) 



(AT EC CONSOLE AT 

ADS) 

■■■■■i^H (NO CONSOLE) 
(WORKTABLE BEHIND "GW**) 

(STAG CONSOLE AT ADS) 

(DSA/AAW C&R NET) 




MAD TALKER) 



(10 Exhibit 174). 

(6) (U) USS VINCENNES* enlisted general quarters CIC 
watchstanders for 3 JUL 1988 were PQS qualified for watches held 
that day (10 Exhibit 167, 170). 

(7) (U) The Commanding Officer USS VINCENNES 
certif ied all officer watchstanders as qualified; however ■{ 
^■Hl completed PQS for AAWC (h is 3 July 1988 GQ 
station). (10 Exhibits 151, 152, p. 722). 

U 

(8) (/) The Commanding Officer USS VINCENNES stated 
his confiden ce level before a nd subsequent to the incident in 
^m^^^Hm and I^H^^^^H was the highest could be. He 
also stated he had great faith in his "GW" organization and his 
CIC team's experience. (Rogers p. 834 - 840). 

c. Overall Combat System Status 

(1) (U) USS VINCENNES' Preventive Maintenance System 
(PMS), which covers the AEGIS combat system, was recorded 



31 



<^ [""■ i^'> tT^"'^ p; ■ rr* "^'[^^ * 



properly and showed no significant discrepancies 
147). 



(10 Exhibit 



(2) (U) The AEGIS combat system was working 
exceptionally well on 3 July. No anomalies were noted in data 
analysis or from operator statements. (Enclosure 15). 

(3) (U) Semi-annual check for the OE120 IFF Phased 
Array Antenna was last completed in February 1988 with its next 
sche duled ch eck to be completed on 12 July 1988. (10 Exhibit 
145, l^HI p. 350). 

(4) (U) Upon the completion of the OE 120 July Semi- 
Annual PMS check of the OE120 IFF antenna, the following 
discrepancies were noted: Phase Shifter #13 had no power out; 
#12 was 1.0 db below PMS Spec; one Phase Shif ter was within spec 
The OE 120 has a total of 16 phase shifters (^HIH p* 350). 

(5) (U) The C&D IFF data indicates Phase Shifter 
degradation was not significant but could open t he possibly of 
sporadic detections in side lobe beams. (HBH P* 359J. 

(6) (U) The CASREP summary for USS VINCENNES shows no 
significant degradations of AEGIS Combat System as of the 8 
o'clock reports for 2 July 1988, with the exception of CIWS 
(close in weapons system) Mount 22. (10 Exhibit 139). [The data 
from NWSC Dahlgren substantiates the excellent performance of the 
system. (10 Exhibit 91; enclosure 15). 

(7) (U) The SPY-IA signal processor alignment was 
completed during the last week of April 1988 and the first week 
of May 1988. Operational Performance Tests (OPTS) were run 
weekly with no significant degradation. The system had been 
operational almost non-stop since arrival in Gulf. Its 
performance was exceptional. (10 Exhibit 147, 148, 142, 153). 

(8) (U) One of the consoles in CIC(AIC) was down. 

(i^B p. 707). 

(9) (U) At the time of the incident. Mount 22 (CIWS) 
was down and Mount 21 was in "AAW AUTO" mode with "hold fire" on. 
(10 Exhibit 91). 



d. Communications 



(1) (U) On 3 July 1988, the following nets were being 
recorded on the ship's 19 channel tape recorder - RD 390: Fleet 
Tactical Net; Deconf liction Net; ASUW C and R? SAG Common; MEF 
Execution; International Air Distress (IAD); AAW C and R (DSA); 
10 Fleet SEVOCOM; ASUW C and R (HF ) ; AIC #1 and 2; EW C and R; 



32 



ASW 1 and 2; SAG "A"; LAMPS Secure. Military Air Distress (MAD) 
was also recorded on a portable tape recorder. (10 Exhibit 
203). 

(2) (U) USS VINCENNES's primary radio telephone 
talker for MEF Execution was the FAAWC "GW". He was directly 
responsible for relaying both the surface and air tactical 
picture, as seen on USS VINCENNES, along with the force air 
p ictur e, as seen on USS SIDES and USS ELMER MONTGOMERY, to "GB". 
(i^m« p. 809, ■■^l* p. 788). 

(3) (U) USS VINCENNES internal net 15 is designated 
for warfare coordinators, only, i.e. CO, TAO, OOD, SSWC, CSC, 
TIC, SSES. (ID Exhibit 160). 

(4) (U) On 3 July 1988, the following CIC operators 
were using net 15 or 16 in addition to warfare coordinators: 
FWC, IDS, EWS, RSC, SITREP Officer at ECDA, EWS, EWCO and various 
other stations that had "punched" into the net. (10 Exhibit 160, 
pp. 1-5; p. 528). 

(5) (U) Internal communications had to be shifted 
between net 15 and 1 6 due to degradation of the CKT during the 3 
July 1988 events. (■■# p- 528) « 

(6) (U) Internal net 15/ 16 was heavily used and 
difficult to get information across. i^^^M' P* ^84)* 

(7) (U) Internal communications procedures, i*e. 
specific call ups in accordance with stan dard proce dures, were 
known by operators but not always used. (HH^|^|f P* 567). 

e. Combat Systems Doctrine 
(1) (I) 




(2) (I) IFF Interrogate Doctrine - IFF Doctrine 
activated on 3 July 1988 showed that all SPY-1 surface and air 
tracks from 5NM to were being interrogated on IFF modes I, 
II, III/A and C at one minute intervals . (10 Exhibits 91, 176). 

(3) (!) ID Doctrine - 23 HIFASTTHR will ID air 
tracks currently ID "unknown pending" or "unkn own evalu ated", at 
ranges of 30 to miles, altitudes 55,000 to ^I^HII feet and 
speeds of 1150 to 2200 knots, as assumed enemy. The data 



(4) Alert Doctrine 

(a) (/) ARC Air Warning 1 - will give an alert 
for inbound air tracks at ranges from 45 to 55 miles and 
altitudes 0 to 90,000 feet. (10 Exhibit 176). 

P 

(b) (^) ARC Air Warning 2 - will give an alert 
for inbound air tracks at ranges from 15 to 30 miles. 
Exhibit 176). . 

(c) ijt) SSWC Surface Warning 

alert for an inbound surface track at a range of 15 to 25 miles 
with a predicted closest point of approach of 0 to 4 miles. (10 
Exhibit 176). 

0 

(d) ijf) SSWC Surface Warning 2 - will give an 
alert for an inbound surface track at a range of 5 to 15 miles 
with a predicted closest point of approach of 0 to 2 miles. (10 
Exhibit 176). 



(10 



1 - will give an 



(e) (^) No target tripped the Alert Doctrine 
during the engagement period. (10 Exhibit 91). 



(5) Drop Track Doctrine Activated 

a 




(6) (/f) SPY-1 Doctrine 



Search Elevation = 0*16 deg 
Power = high 261-097 deg 

= low 097-261 deg 
Sensitivity » auto 
Manual MTI = 0-64 NM 
Freq Mode = fixed 

Low Elevation MTI TRK (Ducting) = off 
Auto Roll In = off 

Cover Pulse Detection Blanking = on 



(10 Exhibit 91, 176). 



B. EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE AIR ENGAGEMENT 



1. Ancillary Air Data 

a. (U) At 0330Z 3 July 1988 the disposition of the non- 
participant ships, both U.S. and Allied, was as follows: 

(1) (U) USS JOHN HANCOCK was at SITRAH anchorage in 
Manama, Bahrain. 

(2) (U) USS HALSEY was in the Northern Persian Gulf, 

RFS. 

(3) (U) USS O'BRIEN was off Kuwait waiting to begin 
the outbound transit of Sea Isle City and M/V Patriot. 

(4) (U) USS FAHRION was inport Ras al Khaimah for a 
routine port visit. 

(5) (U) USS CORONADO was pier side, Mina Sulman at 
Manama, Bahrain with CJTFME embarked. 

(6) (U) HMS MANCHESTER was 150 NM from the incident, 
outside the SOH. HMS BEAVER and .the Italian warship ESPERO were 
in the Southern SOH, approximately 75 NM from the incident. 

U 

(7) (/) CJTFME requested all three Allied ships to 
provide any information relative to TN 4131 and whether they had 
heard the warnings on IAD. HMS BEAVER responded by delivering 
its recordings and transcripts of the USS VINCENNES IAD warnings 
to the Senior Investigating Officer. HMS MANCHESTER indicated 
that it did not hear the warnings over IAD. Information received 
from the Italian Naval Headquarters indicated that the ESPERO did 
not hear the IAD warnings. 

(10 Exhibits 102, 244, 291). 

b. (U) At 0610Z the three principal U.S. Navy warships 
involved in Iran Air Plight 655 incident were: 

(1) (U) USS VINCENNES (CO 49), located at 26-26 N 

056-02E. 

(2) (U) USS ELMER MONTGOMERY (FP 1082), located 
approximately 5 NM from USS VINCENNES. 

(3) (U) USS SIDES (FFG 14), located approximately 18 
NM NE of USS VINCENNES. 

do Exhibits 17, 102). 



35 



c. (U) The USS FORRESTAL was on routine patrol in the 
Northern GOO area. (10 Exhibit 250). 

U 

d. i$) The USS FORRESTAL called away and launched the 
ALERT-7 F-14 and E-2C at 0647Z. (10 Exhibit 250). 

U 

e. (9) At approximately 0649Z the E-2C checked in with 
the USS VINCENNES and entered the LINK-11 Net which showed the 
tracks o£ the hostile surface units and air track 4131. (10 
Exhibit 250). 

U 

f. (/) During the track life of TN 4131, the E-2C did 
not receive any radar, IFF, or ESH data on TN 4131. (10 Exhibit 
250). 




424). 




2. Surface Engagement 
U 

a. it) At approximately 0330Z, 3 July, USS MONTGOMERY 
observed seven small Iranian gunboats approaching a Pakistani 
merchant vessel. USS MONTGOMERY reported over MEFEX net at 0333Z 
that the small boats had man ned mach ine gun mounts and rocket 
launchers. (10 Exhibit 130, 44). 

b. ()i) Shortly thereafter USS MONTGOMERY observed a 
total of 13 Iranian gunboats breaking into three groups. Each 
group contained 3 to 4 gunboats with one group of four gunboats 
taking position off USS MONTGOMERY'S port quarter. (10 Exhibit 
130 andlH^^lp* 44). 

c. (ji) FURY FEZ (code name for missiles tight zone 
during SUCAP OPS) was activated by "GS" at 0334Z, 3 July 1988. 
After some discussion between "GW", "GS", and "CB", FURY FEZ was 
deactivated by "GS" at 0342Z. (10 Exhibit 130, 203, 172). 

d. (U) At 0411Z USS MONTGOMERY heard, over bridge to 
bridge, the gunboats questioning merchants in the area, and at 



36 

r\ 



CF7 



approximately the same time heard 5 to 7 explosions coming from 
the north. (10 Exhibit 172, ■■■■ P« 44). 
U 

e. (/) No merchant vessels requested assistance and by 
direction of "GS", at approximately 0411Z, USS MONTGOME RY 
proceeded to the southern section of SOHWPA. (IH^^Ir p* 44). 
U 

£. {0) At 0412Z, "GS" directed USS VINCENNES to 
proceed north to« the vicinity of USS MONTGOMERY and to 
investigate USS MONTGOMERY'S report of small boats preparing to 
attack a merchant. USS VINCENNES 's helo OCEAN LORD 25 (LAMPS MK- 
III) on routine morning patrol was vectored to the north to 
monitor the Iranian small boat activity in preparation for USS 
SIDES transit. (10 Exhibits 130, 172). 
U 

g. (^) OCEAN LORD 25 closed t o within 3NM of Oman while 
conducting surveillance operations. (Hl^H P- 471). 

{J 

h. (^) At 0615Z OCEAN LORD 25 reported being fired on by 
one group of small boats (TN 4667). (10 Exhibits 149, 172, 212). 

(U) H^H^^l and OCEAN LORD 25 crew, 

observed several small flashes and puffs of smoke approximately 
ICQ yards from the helo. (10 Exhibits 149, 212). 

j. (U) At the time of firing, OCEAN LORD 25 was 8-10 
miles to the north of USS MONTGOMERY. (IH^H p. 45). 

k. (U) Bridge personnel on USS MONTGOMERY reported 
hearing five detonations to the north just prior to USS 
VINCENN ES ' s report of the firing on OCEAN LORD 25 over MEFEX net. 
(■■■ P- 

1. (U) At 0613Z USS VINCENNES sounded General Quarters 
and proceeded north at high speed in the general direction of 
where OCEAN LORD 25 had been fired upon by the small boats. (10 
Exhibits 157,^172). 

m. (jf) Before returning to USS VINCENNES at high speed, 
OCEAN LORD 25 was able to identify the group of small boats that 
fired at it and, via the L AMPS MK-II I data link, id entify the 
group to USS VINCENNES. (HBIHl P* 798, P* 476). 

n. (U) At approximately 0618Z, USS VINCENNES observed 
two groups of small boats 7 to 8 miles away. (10 Exhibit 172, 
p. 792). 

o. (U) The two groups of small boats then closed to 
a pproxim ately 4 miles off USS VINCENNES 's starboard bow. 
p. 792). 



37 



u 

p. At 0620Z USS VINCENNES was directed by "GS" to 

take tactical control of USS MONTGOMERY. USS VINCENNES assumed 
tactical control and positioned MONTGOMERY 8,000 yards off her 
port quarter. (10 Exhibits 130, 172). 
U 

q. {$) At 0639Z USS VINCENNES requested permission by 
"GS" and "GB" to engage the small boats (TN 4667) with 5'754 
guns. (10 Exhibits 130, 172). 
U 

r. if) At 0639Z "GB" requested USS VINCENNES to verify 
the small boats Vere not departing. USS VINCENNES reported the 
boats were cl osing the USS VIN CENNES an d the USS MONTGOMERY. (10 
Exhibits 130, IHI^B P* 794, ^^Hl P* 47). 

s. ()/) At 0641Z "GS" gave permission to engage the 
small boats with gunfire. (10 Exhibit 130). 

t. (U) At 0643Z USS VINCENNES and USS MONTGOMERY opened 
fire on two closing groups of Iranian small boats, including the 
group of smal l boats which had fired on OCEAN LORD 25. (lO 
Exhibits 172, ^■^■1 p. 48). 

u. (U) CO MONTGOMERY reported that two small boats 
maneuvered erratically and appeared to close USS MONTGOMERY and 
USS VINCENNES. CO USS MONTGOMERY also stated his lookou ts 
reported small arms fire coming from the small boats. (BHB^I 
p. 47 and p. 50). 

V. (U) Crew members topside on USS VINCENNES reported 
small arms fire from the boats, and Repair Locker 2 personnel in 
USS VINCENNES reported hearing what might have been small arms 
rounds impacting the starboard bow area. (10 Exhibits 224, 225, 
Rogers p. 837). 

w. (U) CO USS VINCENNES stated that the post-action 
analysis indicated that shrapnel, and/or spent bullets, impacted 
the starboard bow of the ship and the ablative coating behind the 
forward missile launcher. (Rogers p. 838). 

X. (U) At approximately 0646Z, USS MONTGOMERY opened 
fire with her 5"/ 54 at the two westernmost contacts of the group 
of four. This i s the gro up USS VINCENNES initially engaged. 
(10 Exhibit 172, 48). 
U 

y. (/) At 0649Z one group of small boats (TN 4456), 027 
degrees true from USS VINCENNES, was reported inbound and was 
taken under fire by USS VINCENNES 's MT52. (10 Exhibit 172). 

z. (jl) At 0650Z USS VINCENNES suffered a gun casualty 
to MT51 resulting in a foul bore (cham bered roun d in the gun that 
could not be fired). (10 Exhibit 172, ■■^^■P'796). 



WW , 



ee. 

on TN 4456. 
ammunition* 

ft. 



U 

aa. (/) At 0651Z, "GS",, in a transmission to both USS 
VINCENNES and USS SIDES, ordered USS VINCENNES to take tactical 
control of USS SIDES. (10 Exhibit 130). 

bb. (U) The foul bore in MT51 caused the TAO to 
maneuver the ship radically, using 30 degrees rudder at 30 RTS 
ship's speed, in order to keep MT52 pointed at the most 
threatening of the surface contacts. (lO Exhibit 157, 
p. 796). ^ 
U 

cc. {][\ The high speed, large rudder angle turn caused 
books, publications, and loose equ ipment to fall from desks and 
consoles in CIC. (10 Exhibit 157, ■■■■I p. 796). 
U 

dd. (/) At 0703Z USS VINCENNES ceased firing on the 
small boats. A total of 72 rounds of 5"/54 ammunition was 
expended (HE CVT-51 RDS, VT-FRAG-16 RDS, WHITE PHOS-3 RDS, VT- 
N0NFRA6-2 RDS). (10 Exhibit 172). 

(){) At 0706Z USS MONTGOMERY reported confirmed kill 
USS MONTGOMERY expended a total of 47 RDS of 5'754 
(10 Exhibits 172). 
U 

if) USS VINCENNES entered the territorial waters of 
Iran during the engagement. (10 Exhibit 157) — 

gg. (U) Captain Rogers considered applicable ROE before 
requesting permission to engage the small boats. Those criteria 
included: 

U 

(1) (^) The small boats had already committed a 
hostile act against his unit by firing on OCEAN LORD 25. 
(Rogers p. 837) 

(2) (jf) He had positive Identification of the small 
boats as those that had committed the hostile act against OCEAN 
LORD 25; (Rogers p. 837) 

U 

(3) (/) He was initially prepared to disengage from 
the small boats when they appeared to present no further threat 
to his units. (Rogers pp. 836-837) 

U 

(4) if) His decision to disengage was changed only 
when the small boats began to close his units. (Rogers p. 837) 

(5) (^ ) The small boats have greater speed and 
maneuverability than the USS VINCENNES. (Rogers p. 842) 

U 

(6) if) The small boats carry weapons capable of 
inflicting significant personnel and equipment casualties. 
(Rogers p. 838} 



39 



(7) {$) Experience with small boat tactics shows 
that the greatest threat they present is personnel and equipment 
casualties when they make high speed massed attacks on their 
targets, raking the superstructures of ships with gunfire and 
rockets. (Rogers p. 841) 

0, 

(8) . (/) The small boats did not turn away after the 
USS VINCENNES fired its first round, but continued to close. 
(Rogers p. 837). 

U 

hh. if) CJTFME considered the following ROE cumulative 
indicators in^ granting permission to engage the small boats: 

U 

(1) iff) Positive identification of the boats as 
those having committed a hostile act against a U.S. ship. 

(2) (/) The small boats were not leaving the area. 

U 

(3) (/) The small boats were closing the USS 
VINCEN NES and USS MONT GOMERY. 

(|B| p. 856, ■■■I P* 425) 
U 

ii. (/) USS MONTGOMERY and USS VINCENNES disengaged from 
the small boats w hen they ceased presenting a threat to U.S. 
ships. (^^m P*51, ^I^H p. 518, Rogers p. 839) — 

C. AIR ENGAGEMENT ( . 



1» Data Extraction Background 

a. (U) USS VINCENNES *8 magnetic tapes containing data 
extracted from her SPY-IA, Command and Decision, and Weapons 
Control System computers, were transferred by courier from USS 
VINCENNES to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren (NSWC) on 5 
July 1988. (MM* P* 280) 



• b. 

July 1988. 



(U) NSWC Dahlgren signed a receipt for the tapes on 6 

imm' p* 281) 



c. (U) NSWC Dahlgren copied the tapes and performed data 
reduction on the USS VINCENNES *s tapes lAW standard procedures. 

d. (U) The resul ts of that data reduction are included 
as 10 Exhibits 81-105. PP* 279-371) 

e. (U) Preliminary data extraction results were provided 
by CO NAVSWC DAHLGREN messages 080516Z JUL 88 and 090708Z JUL 88. 
The former message stated: "Data received and successfully 
duplicated with the exception of less than 1% of one non-critical 
WCS tape. Initial basic analysis runs complete and checked. 
This report based on excellent SPY-IA data and correlations 
between SPY-IA, C&D, and WCS." (10 Exhibit 91). 



40 



f . (U) ^^I^^H^^^I AEGIS Program Office, 
stated that the quality of data received was "as good as any data 
they ( his analysts) have ever worked with." 
(Big, p. 284). 

g. (U) The data examined by N5WC Dahlgren indicated 
the following regarding the track of interest (TN 4131); 

U 

(1) ifi) Altitude as seen by SPY-1 increased steadily « 
after leaving low elevation, to. a maximum of 13,500 feet at 
intercept. (10 Exhibit 91). 

(2) (ff) Altitude readings received from TN 4131 's 
Mode III-C IFF transmission increased steadily from take-off at 
Bandar Abbas to a maximum of 12,900 feet 3 seconds before 
intercept. (10 Exhibit 91). 

U 

(3) (^) The only IFF Modes received from TN 4131 as a 
result of interrogations by the system was Mode I 11-6760. (10 ^ 
Exhibit 91). . ... 

h. (U) AEGIS Display System (ADS) data cannot be 
extracted. Therefore, console actions at the CO, "GW", and TAO 
positions cannot be determined. (10 Exhibit 91). _ 

U 

i. (/) No data tapes were available from other units, 
but the Mode III IFF of 6760 and increasing altitude seen in the 
data tapes from USS VINCENNES were corroborated by testimony, and 
statements from USS SIDES. (10 Exhibits 65-73). 

U 

j. (a) Information obtained from intelligence sources 
further corroborated that TN 4131 was squawking Mode III-6760. 
(10 Exhibit 6). 



2. Time Line 



a. (U) The time line below is a summary of all the 
events dealing with the air engagement which occurred between 
0647Z and 0654Z on 3 July 1986. From detection to intercept this 
was a time window of 7 minutes and 8 seconds. The time line is a 
reconstruction based on data extraction from USS VINCENNES 's 
tapes, as well as statements, testimony, and log entries from USS 
VINCENNES, USS SIDES, and USS ELMER MONTGOMERY. The events 
derived from data tape extraction are underlined. The events are 
in chronological order, but some event times had to be estimated 
and may not be in precise time sequence. 

b. ( cViP ) During this engagement, there were no pre- 
launch Indications and Warnings (I&W) indicators of impending 
Iranian air activity available to USS VINCENNES from either 



41 



internal ship's sensors or from external sources. (10 Exhibit 
232). 

G. (U) Unless otherwise noted, names and associated 
console positions refer to USS VINCENNES's CIC operator 
positions. (See Figure 1. Figure 1 is duplication of 10 Exhibit 
174 and is inserted here for ease of review. ) 



42 



iufe I »Toe 




(jQCicEe.aAPE 



m 




fCOMT 
|CA& STOR 



. cotJJ siNvrw cent 

^•i iNO JL RM set €OMT 



ITUCIR MM 
SKWWUMG 



SCUTTLE 




DATA 
PRCS 




TtUPSINTt? 



STATUS 



1 g Q 

CQ Q[ 



SCUTTLE 



O AZIMUTH 



BOPT 
CAS 



I1 U 11 



PgQ 



Figure 3-2. CG 47 CtC Plan View 



V3 



d. (U) When the term "in close control" or "hooked" is 
used with a TN it means that the operator referred to has the 
following displayed on the Character Read Out (CRO) display 
located on his console: TN, ID, grid coordinates, course, speed, 
altitude, ID amplifying information. Mode I/II/III IFF received, 
tracking quality, bearing and range. 

U, 

e. (Jc) Throughout this engagement, the large screen 
displays were on the following range scales: LSDl - 8NM; LSD2 - 
64NM; XiSD3 - 16NM; LSD4 - 8NM. LSD3 (the CO's display) was 
expanded to 64NM some time before the air engagement. (10 
Exhibit 209). 



(1). 0647Z 




(EWS), 



(ID S), and ^^^ MB MI (AIC^) had an Iranian P~3 in close^ 
control. The P-3 was C>'1 miles west of VINCENNES, heading 085. 
This was the only air " assumed enemy" m the system . TlO 
jsxniDit ' 

U 

(b) (/) The E-2C (AE-602) launched in an alert 
status from USS FORRESTAL (CV 59), and proceeded to its assigned 
"EARNEST WILL" station. (10 Exhibit 250), 

U 

(c) (/) The SPY4.1 radar initially reported the 
track of interest at a range of 47B»1, bearing 025, and altitude 
of 900 feet (low elevation mode). This corresponded to a 
lat/long over the runway at Bandar Abbas. Initial course was 
210. Mode HI was 6760. (10 Exhibits 91 & 232), 
5— 

(d) (/) The radar operators in USS VINCENNES 
cannot discrimina te size of a contact regardless of aspect angle. 
(10 Exhibit 183) (^HHr P* 544). 

(e) {^) H^H^HH (RSC ) deter mined from the A- 
scope that TN 4131 was a single track. (H^Hi' P* 544). 

U ^ 

(f) if) IM^ ^M APT) first took close 

control of the southboun d track out of Bandar Abbas and made an 
identification as "UtJKNOWN -A SSUMED EHEMV as it went "feet wet" 
in accordance with CTG S61.7/0PTASK AAW/002/MAY. Altitude 
reports to CIC consoles were derived from IFF Mode C since SPY 
was in low elevation mode. (10 Exhibits 91 & 132). 

(g) {ft) HHH^^IH (Air Detector Tracker and 
Track Supervisor-SIDES ) recalled picking up the track on a course 
of 200, speed 300kts, with a Mode III - 6700 block (10 Exhibit 
71). 



44 




(UBS) saw Mode III-66?? and 
, p. 755). 



0 

(h) (/) ^■■^^■l (IDS) picked up Mode III- 

6675 as the aircraft departed Bandar Abbas. System data 
continued to show a Mode III of 6760 > (10 Exhibxts yi & 190). 

'(i) (gf) 



■II^^^H (AIC-3) also recalled seeing 
Mode IH-6675 on his CRO. (10 Exhibit 196). 

(j) ih 

later saw an unspecified Mode II 

U 

(k) (jf) ^BH^^B (RSC) be lieved SSES sa id 
that planes had scrambled from B andar Ab bas. '^"^^^^^^L 
didn' t recall SSE S indication. (HlHI' P* ^42 ) (l^^HiHi# P< 
561)JpHiHlH (SSES) stated that he did not report an F-14. 
(■iHrp^664). 

U 

■■■■ iT^I-C) recal led hearing 

"possible F-4" launch from Bandar Abbas (Bllr 675) and 
reported "PADRE" over AAW C&R/DSA net. (ID Exhibit 203). 

U 

. (m) ijt) ^BHI^^H (IAD) believed he heard a 
report of F-14's from SSES. (10 Exhibit 189). 

(n).aH^Mm ("GW") believed he heard "F-14" 
reported from SSES. (^^Hl^p^ 812). 

0 

(o) ip) Track of interest is reported by USS 
VINCENNES over Link 11 as 4474. (Id Exhibit 9l). 



(CSC), 



(UBS), 



(IDS), 



(TIC), 



(FC-1), 



^AAWCj, and — — n_W'i 1 ill have track of interest (TN 
44/4; in close control. (10 Exhibit 91 j. 



(q) i% 



squawking Modes II and III. ( 




(49 ADT) stated TN 4474 was 
p. 588). 



(2) 0648Z ^ 

(a) (^) ■^■■B (TIC) recalled noting Mode III (.W^^ 
in his CRO for TN 4131. (^^BTp. 676). CW^'dU.) 



^■■H (TIC) recalled noting Mode III 
^^^■^p. 676). 
(U) 

(b) ^ Commercial air schedules were available in 
CIC and reviewed by decision-making personnel (CO, TAO, "GW", 
TIC, IDS) on a regular basis prior to the engagement. The IDS 
specifically looked at the schedule at his console when TN 4131 
first appeared. (10 Exhibits 190 & 195, Rogers, p. 839, (y»>tW) 

p. 621). ML-fU) 



45 



ADT ) , and 



(FC-1), ^—BM (49 

(AAWC) took a non~squawking P-3 (track 4472) 



to. the west (RNG 64, BRG. 266 > CSE 085) m close control foF 
several seconds an d returned to the track of interest (TN 4474). 

(10 texhibit 91). 

(d) it ) HHiHIB (TIC) recalled seeing Mode I 

and Mode III on the P-3 (TN 4472). (^Hir P> 646). 

(e) (^ ) The P-3 (TN 4472) was challenged over 
both MAD and IAD. The P-3 responded that he was on a search 
mission and that he would stay away from USS VINCENNES. The form 
of the challenge wass "Iranian P-3 on course 085 speed 270 this 
is USN warship BRG 085 64 miles, request you state your 
intentions." (10 Exhibit 203). 

U 

(f) (/) The track of interest (TN 4474)) was at 
a range of 44 NM, BRG 025 > CSE 202, SPD 232, and at an altitude 
of 2500 ft. The altitude source to consoles continued to be Mode 
c ifg trom the aircraft which was still ascending. (10 Exhibit 

^tt: '■ 

(SSES) took TN 4131 in close 




control. (10 Exhibit 91). 



(h) (j/) USS SIDES reported the track of 
interest (TN 4474) over Link 11 as TN 4131. USS VINCENNES 's 
system correlated this with her TN 4474 and correctly maintained 
reporting resp onsibility of the track using USS SIDES TN 4131. 
USS VINCENNE S then transmitted "drop track 4474" on Link-ii": TlO 
Exhibii 91). 

(i) (^) USS ELMER MONTGOMERY never gained radar 
contact on TN 4131. dBHIt p. 88), (10 Exhibit 33). 

(j) (^) H^^^H (TIC) recalled that the track 
number changed to TN 4131 occurred somewhere beyond 30 NM. 
(i^B. p. 675). 

(k) (9) ^IBH (TAO-SIDES) observed TN 4131 

leaving Bandar Abbas and although it was crossing with respect to 
USS SIDES, he directed his Weapons Control Officer to lock -on 
with PC 2. The aircraft was heading southwesterly at 
approximate ly 400k ts at an altitude of about 10,000 ft. (10 
Exhibit 59, ^^■i, pp. 247, 248). 

0 

(1) {$) ■^■■■B (WCO-SXDES) confirmed 
receiving the order and recalled that FC-2 acquired the target 
50-60 kyds from USS SIDES. He thought he no ticed an IFF of 6710 
but didn't see an altitude. (10 Exhibit 69, ■^■B, p. 269). 



46 



(m) (?) 



(WCC2~SIDES) generally (b'itCi 
confirmed the range report and recalled an altitude of 3500 ft iwVriW*>i 
with speed 480 )cts. (10 Exhibit 57). 

(n) (S) USS SIDES sent a "WEAPONS ON TARGET" 
message for TN 4131 over LinK-11. (ID Exhibit 91). 

U 

(o) it) TN 4131 was designated tactically 
significant by VINCENNES system. (10 Exhibit 9i). 

(3) 06492 

(a) (^) USS VINCENNES 's Link 11 was off for 28 
seconds . ( 10 Exhibit 91). 

(b) ii) ^^^^Hl (AAWC) ordered TN 4131 to be S^},^^ v 
challenged over the MAD and IAD nets. (10 Exhibit 204). 

(c) (j^) A MAD warning was issued by USS 
VINCENNES to TN 4131 "Unidentified Iranian aircraft on course 
203, speed 303, altitude 4000, this is U.S. Naval warship, 
bearing 205, 40 miles from you. You are approaching U.S. Naval 
warship operating in International waters. Request you state 
your intentions." (10 Exhibit 203). 

*i 

(d) iW) ■■^■■B (49 ADT) later recalled that 

his speed challenges on the MAD net were m uch slo wer (about iWitO 
lOOkts) than those given on the .IAD net. p* 602). {,>t^VMt^ 

u " 

(e) (/) ■^^■■M of the USS SIDES recalled CbV^') 
the TAO reporting birds affirm on MEF Execution net. (10 Exhibit 0A(^)^^ 
73). 

U 

(f ) (jr) HMS BEAVER joined Link 11. HHS BEAVER 
copied IAD. (10 Exhibits 91 & 



(4) 0650Z 
0 

(a) (^) The following warning was issued to TN 
4131 over IAD by USS VINCENNES; "Unknown aircraft on course 206, 
speed 316 position 2702N/05616E you are approaching US Naval 
warship request you remain clear." USS VINCENNES ' s system data 
indicated the same parameters. (10 Exhibits 91 & 

U 

(b) (/) ■■■^^^■l (IDS) reported seeing a 

Mode 11-1100 and Mode III-6675 on his RCI about 3-4 minutes CWCt^U) 
before engagement when TN 4131 was at 9000 ft and near the SE 
corner of Qeshm Island. He reported possible F-14 and Mode II- 
1100 over net 15/16 to "all stations." USS VINCENNES 's system 



47 



\ 



(10 Exhibit 91, 



data sh owed only Mode I II -6760 at this time 
Y, p. 626 ; . ~~ 

u 

, (c) if) Not all RCI indications are displayed in 
an operator's CRO because RCI data is not always correlated with 
a track in the system. IFF data in C&D is always correlated 
with a track number. (AF Exhibit Enclosure 17). 

u 

(d) {^) Multiple CIC personnel recalled hearing 
F-14 re port on internal net 1 5 or 16, o^recall it b eing sa id 
aloud. (HH^, p. 812;^H^H/ p. 677; ^^■fP^ 537; M^B, p. 

p. 56 0; ^ ^^Bl, p. 543;^HH^H' P* 570; 
593; ^■^■TpreSO). 

U 

(e) ijf) H^^^HI (CSC) never saw Mode II, but 

^^■IIHH (AIC) saw Mode 11-1100 and Mode III -6675 on his CRO. 
■^^I^^I(AAWC) also saw Mode 11-1100. USS VINCENNES ' a system 
still held no IFF Mode II and held Mode I II -6760 tor tn 




L p. 537; 




, p. 727) (16 Exhibit 91). 



, p. 706? 
0 

(£) (/) ^^■■■1 (TIC) reported rech alleng ing 

TN 4131 after Mode II report but only got a Mode III if^KM' P* 

678). 

u • 

(g) (W) Bl^^BBCWCC^-SIDES) noted TN 4131 

climb to 5000 ft. (10 Exhibit ^tT^KKM' P* 2^^^' 

U 

(h) (^) TN 4131 went out of SPY-IA. low 
elevation. SPY-1 data then became altitude source at operator 
consoles and on Link 11. (10 Exhibit 91). 

(i) {% TN 4131 was at range of 34 MM, BRG 025, 
ALT 6160, and a SPD 334. (IQ Exhibit ^ij. 

(j) (j^) ^^■■l^H ("6W") reported an inbound 
Iranian F-14 to "GB" on MEF Execution net (BRG 025/RNG 32NM). 
He also reported on the net that he had warned TN 4131 and that 
the challenge was ignored. (10 Exhibit 203). 

(k) (^) ■■■■■ ("GW") recalled making a MEF 
Execution net report when TN 4131 was at 32 NM and recalled an 
earlier altitude of 9800 ft when TN 4131 was between 38-40 NM. 

(H^l' PP- 813' 31^)- 

U 

(1) (^) USS VINCENNES ordered to take tactical 
control of USS SIDES ^ "GS". (10 Exhibit 203). 

V 

(m) ip) TN 4131 reported as "Astro" (F-14) over 
AAW C&R/DSA net by TIC. (10 Exhibit 203). 

U 

(n) iW) ■■■■ (OSDA) tagged TN 4131 as F-14 

on the LSD. (■■ir P* 781). 



48 



(5) 0651Z 



(a) (/) "GW" identified TN 4131 as Iranian F-14 
(BRG 024/RNG 28) over CMEF Execution net. Indicated intention to 
engage at 20 NM unless he turned away. Asked "GB" if he 
concurred. "GB" told USS VINCENNES to warn aircraft first 
before firing. (10 Exhibit 203). 

10) 

(b) ^In the limited time available, CJTFME could 
not v erify the informa tion passed by USS VINCENNES on TN 4131. 

p* 859; P* 446). 

a 

(c) (^} ■^^BB (TAO-SIDES) recalled first 
being alerted to TN 4131 wh en USS VINCENNES reported an F-14 over 
CMEF Execution Net (^^HH^ p. 247). 

(d) (^)m^BBB (SIDES) recalled hearing USS 
VINCENNES report "birds affirm" on TN 4131 when it was at 30 
NM. (lO Exhibit 54). 

U 

(e) (/ ) ■■§■1 (AAWC) recalled altitude at 8- 
9 kft at 30 NM a nd orde red continuous challenge until engagement. 
(10 Exhibit 204, p. 730), 

(f) if) The following MAD challenge was issued 
by USS VINCENNES: "Iranian fighter on course 210, speed 353, 
altitude 7000 ft. you are approaching US Naval warship, operating 
in international waters. If you maintain current course you are 
standing into danger and are subject to USN defense meas ures. 
Request you change course 270 repeat 270." HHHIHH (SIDES) 
recalled hearing this report. USS VINCENNES ' s system data 
indicated the same course, speed, and altitude. (lO Exhibit 203 

mi^ I I 1 1 

0 

(g) (j^) An IAD challenge was issued by USS 
VINCENNES to TN 4131: "Unidentified aircraft on course 207, 
speed 350, altitude 7000. You are approaching US Naval warship 
bearing 205, 30 miles from you. Your identity is not known, your 
intentions are not clear. You are standing into danger and may 
be subject to USN defensive measures. Request you alter course 
immediately to 270." USS VINCENNES 's system data indicated the 
same. (10 Exhibits 91 & 

U 

(h) (^) USS VINCENNES 's systems held TN 4131 at 
an altitude of 7000 ft at 29 NM. (10 Exhibit 91 



(i) (^) 

TN 4131 after "GS's" report an< 



(SIDES) recalled challenging 
reading an IFF altitude of 7,000 



49 



ft with a Mode III of 6707. He evaluated it as an Iranian HAJ 
flight. (10 Exhibit 55, p. 196). 

U 

(j) (^) IHIHIH (SIDE S) recalle d the 

evaluation as a HAJ flight and that he and IHHIIj^^H had reported 

it to the TAG. HI^HH (TAG - SIDES) does not recall hearing 

the re port of HAJ flight. (10 Exhibits 54 & 59, p. 251; 

^^^^ u 

(1c) (/) ■■■i^H (standby -Air Detector Tracker- 
SIDES) recalled watching TN 4131 climb to 9 or 10 kft when "GW" 
said "BIRDS AFFIRM" track unknown TN 4131. (10 Exhibit 67). 

U 

(1) ijf) IBm^H. (OSDA) recalled TN 4131 being 

at an altitude of 8000 ft at S£ corner of Qeshm Island and 

descending. (HHlr P* 210). 

U 

(m) (^) ■■■■■ (AIC-3) recalled that on his 

3rd l ook TN 4131 was just east of Qeshm Island at 9000 ft and 30 

NM. (■■, pp. 706 fic 712). 



Exhibit 91) • 



(n) (J?) HMS MANCHESTER joined Link 11. (10 



U 



(o) (/) HMS MANCHESTER transmitted TN 4474 
(previously associated witE^N 4131) as friendly strike aiFcraft 
located in the Gulf of Oman about 100-120 mi SE. (10 Exhibit 
^IT^ \ \ ■ 

(p) (^) In a USS VINCENNES Link 11 message, TN 
4131 was reported at an altitude of 8500. (IQ Exhibit 91). 

U 

(q) (/) ^Bi^^^HHI observed TN 4131 slowly 
rising at around 8-9 kft. He jump ed up and said "possible 
COMAIR" to the CO and ■■I^I^B ("GW"). T he CO acknowledged 
the report by raising his hand. (■■■■■ft P* ^71, Rogers 
p. 849). 

U 

(r) (/) Airway (A-59) was depicted on LSD #2 in 
front of "GW" as single line and was slightly west of the actual 
centerline of the 20 mi wide airway. (10 Exhibit 187). 

(s) (^) ^^^HH (TIC) issued a report to 
"Bravo" (USS FORRESTAL) on the AAW C&R/DSA net that TN 4131 was 
an "Astro" (F-14) and TN 4472 was "Bluejay" (P-3). "Bravo" 
reported holding both tracks. (10 Exhibit 203). 



(6) 0652Z 

(a) (^) A MAD warning was Issued to TN 4131: 
"Iran aircraft fighter on CSE 211, SPD 360, ALT 9000. This is 



50 



immediately to 270. If you maintain current course you are 
steering into danger and are subject to USN defensive measures." 
USS VINCENNES 's system d ata indicated the same. (10 Exhibits 91 

& 203). 

0 

(b) (^) nn^^^^ (AAWC) recalled seeing TN 4131 
with an altitude of approximately 9000 ft and a speed of 360-380 
kts. So did the USS VINCENNES *s system. (10 Exhibit 91, ^HB, 

p. 728)-: 

U 

(c) (/) Hj^^H^B (49 ADT) recalled that the 
highest altitude for TN 4131 was 12,000 ft at 25 NM. The system 
held TN 4131, at 8,400 ft when it was at 25 NM. (10 Exhibit 91, 

S^BT* 



P 

u 

(d) i/i) HMS MANCHESTER went off Link 11. 
(FC-1) hooked TN 4474 for 5 sees (RNG 110 NM, BRG 139, 



ALT ii,!juu, SPD 448). Forty seconds later TN 4474 was dropped 
from system. (10 Exhibit 91). 

U ^ 

(e) ig) ■■■■■ (CSC) recalled that the last 
time he looked at altitude, TN 4131 was at 22 NM at 10,300 ft. 
At 22 NM, USS VINCE NNES ' s system held TN 4131 at 9200 ft. (10 
Exhibit 91, 



(MSS) pushed "REQUEST 




RADIATION ASSIGN" button for TN 4131. System would not allow 
since AAWC or IDS had not authorized. (10 Exhibit 91). 

(g) ()?) 



(AAWC) recal led re questing and 
receiving permission to illuminate at 20 NM. p. 730). 

U 

(h) (/) USS VINCENNES issued a challenge over 
IAD to TN 4131: "Unknown aircraft on CSE-210, SPD-360, ALT 
10,000. You are approaching USN warship BRG 201, 20 miles from 
you. You are standing into danger and may be subject to USN 
defensive measures. " The TN 4131 range and kinematics agreed 
with the USS VINCENNES ' s system values. (10 Exhibits 91 & 203). 

(i) {jf) USS VINCENNES issued a challenge over 
MAD to TN 4131: "Iranian F-14 this is USN warship bearing 199, 
20 miles. Request you change course 270 immediately. If 
maintain current course you are subject to USN defensive 
measures." USS VINCENNES *s system data indicated the same. (10 
Exhibits 203, yi). ! 

(j) ^) 



mm (TAO observer-USS SIDES) 
recalled TN 4131 rising in altitude and as it reache d CPA and 
continuing to rise to 10 or 11 kft. (10 Exhibit 56, WI^^M* P- 
222). 



MM 



MM 



51 



u 

(^) (/) ^^IIH^H (49 ADT) stated that TN 4131 
IFF broke Mode II on his RCI (not on CRO) only one time. That 
occurred when it was at 20 miles. It then started to decrease in 

altitude between 25 and 20 miles. He said on net 12 that the 
contact was decreasing but did not refer to it b y TN. IDS and 
TIC also noticed a decrease according to j^^^HII they said it 
aloud on net. USS VINCENNES ' s system data indicated TN 4131 was 
still ascending'. (IQ Exhibit 9T7UMM# pp« 588, 595). 

(1) ih 
(] 

u 

(m) (/) 



decreasing at 20 NM. 




_ (MSS) recalled altitude 
749). 



(IAD) did not recall hearing 




(OPRE P/SITREP writer) 
p. 763). 



declining altitude reports on net 12 

U 

(n) (^) 

recalled hearing descending altitude ( 

U 

(o) (/) ■^^^■B (AIC-3) recalled an altitude 
of 9000 ft. at 20 NM. USS VINCENNES's system data indicated the 
same. (10 Exhibit 91, gggr~pP- /X4)> 

(P) ih ^■■■H (MSS) continued to push 
"REQUEST RADIATION ASSIGN" button (8 times). No authorization 
nad been given by AAWC or IDS yet. (10 Exhibit 91). 

U 

(q) if) MMI^M (AAWC) pushed "ASSIGN" button 

(which is the start of autHorization process). (10 Exhibit 91). 

(r) ih MHBBB (MSS) continued to push 
"REQUEST RADIATION ASSIGN" button 4 more times. AAWC had not 
completed authorization sequence. (10 Exhibit 91). 



(s) {h 

altitude 10,500 on TN 4131 (' 




(IAD) recalled seeing 
p. 609). 



MM 



MO.) 



(7) 0653Z 

(a) (^) USS VINCENNES reported altitude of TN 
4131 at 10,500 ft over Link 11. (10 Exhibit 91). 



(b) (1?) 



(MSS) pushed "REQUEST 



RADIATION ASSIGN" two more times. Authorization sequence not 
completed yet. (lO Exhibit ^ij. 

(c) (^) Hi^BHi (WCC-SIDES) Recalled that at 
the time of engagement, TN 4131 altitude was at 11,000 feet about 
15 NM on a course paralleling SIDES. (10 Exhibit 70). 



(d) {)f) 



(observer-SIDES ) confirmed 



MM 



52 



growing excitement and yelling in CIC about COMAIR. He looked at 
WCO's IFF box and "read 6700 block", altitude about 11,000 ft. 
(10 Exhibit 73). 

a 

(e) ■^■■■B (CO-SIDES) recalled 
evaluating TN 4131 as a non-threat based on CPA to USS SIDES, F- 
14 ASUW capability, lack of ESM and precedent. He noted an 
altitude of 11,000 ft a nd shift ed his attention to the P-3 to the 
west. (10 Exhibit 48) (I^HB, pp. 151, 153). 

(f) (■) ■■■HIMHi 

(l)j^Airbus A300 carries WXR-700C-X 
NAV/Weather Avoidance Radar 



(3) ^Narrow beam of radar plus ascending 
angle will make the probability of detection of the Airbus radar 
by SLQ-32 marginal. 

(4) ^Neither USS VINCENNES, USS ELMER 
MONTGOMERY, nor USS SIDES had a AN/SLQ-32 intercept of the Airbus 
radar (Enclosure 16 ) . 

U 

(g) if) USS ELMER MONTGOMERY had no ESM contacts 
tha t would have correlated TN 4131 to an F-14. (10 Exhibits 27 & 

33, BBB P' * 

0 

(h) if) 
altitude above 11,000 ft. 

U 




never recalled seeing an 
p. 814). 



(i) (/) TN 4131 was at 16 NM, BRG 018, SPD 371 
and ALT 11,230. (10 Exhibit 91 

U 

(/) ■■■IH [TIQ) recalled target 
altitude of 11,000 ft at 15 NM. He began to update the range 
every open spot on net 15/16. USS VINCENNES 's system data 



indic ated 11,40 0 feet at 06:53:'3rr 

zsm 



(10 Exhibit 



jyst 




(k) (^) 

reports of declining alt itude 

(1)^{/) 

prepared to give t he final warning when another ship came up and 
gave a challenge. ^HHBI also recalled that the aircraft was at 

7800 ft at that time and at 450 kts. The USS VINCENNES 's system 
data did not hold this altitude until after missile intercept. 



GW) heard continuous 
p. 815). 

(IAD) recalled being 



(10 Exhibit 91, 



p. 610). 



(m) (jf) IAD challenge issued by 
(USS SIDES) to aircraft BRG 204 to VINCENNES, RNG 31kyds, 



MM 



MM 



53 



squawking Mode III-67oO. USS VINCENNES's system data indicated 

the same. (10 Exhibits 71 & 91, 172). 

y ^^^^^^ 

(n) ii) ^^^^HB (AIC-3) recalled an altitude 
of 7700 feet ^ on his fourth look at TN 4131 when it was at 15 NM. 
USS VINCENNES's system data at 15 NM showed an altitude of 11,000 



ft. (10 Exhibit 91, 

0 

(o) (^) 



, pp. 706, 712). 

(AAWC) pushed "ENGAGE" button 



in response to system tutorial message to "SELECT WEAPON" and 
received another "SELECT WEAPON" message. (10 Exhibit 91 j. 

(p) (jf) B^BB^I (MSB) again pushed "REQUEST 
RADIATION ASSIGN" button. Authorization sequence was still not 



completed by AAWC. 



(10 Exhibit ^l). 



(q) ijf) 



(AAWC) pushed "ASSIGN" button 



in response to "SELECT WEAPON" message. Again he received a 
"SELECT WEAPON" message. He then pushed "ENGAGE" and got a 
"SELECT WEAPON" message. (lO Exhibit 91). 

v~ 

. (r) if) TN 4131 was at 14 NM, ALT 12,000, and 
still at SPD 382. (10 Exhibit 91). 



(s) (/) USS FORRESTAL's E-2C started 

transmitting on Link 11. It never locally held radar, IFF or ESM 
intormation on TN 4131. TlO Exhibits 91 & 250). 

(MSS) pushed "REQUEST 



RADIATION ASSIGN" button 7 more times. Authorization sequence 
was still not completed by AAWC. (10 Exhibit 91). 



(8) 0654Z 

u 

(a) (/) USS VINCENNES's system held TN 4131 at 
RNG 12 NM, SPD 380, ALT 12,370, CSE 211 at the beginning of this 
minute. (10 Exhibit 91). 

U 

(b) (jr) 



I^I^^^^B (RSC) reported hearing that 
the target had dropped in altitude 5-6000 ft at 12 NM. He also 
stated t hat the RSC console has no altitude read-out. 

(HH^H' P* 543). 0 ^^^^^ 

(c) ijf) B^B^M (AAWC) hit the "ENGAGE" button 
twice in response to "SELECT WEAPON" message and continued to 
receive "SELECT WEAPON" in response. (10 Exhibit 91). 

U 

(d) (/) USS VINCENNES issued a MAD challenge to 
TN 4131 CSE 211, SPD 385. In background noise "Standard 
missile, hit Standard missile" is heard. USS VINCENNES ' s system 
data indicated the same. (10 Exhibits 91 & 203). 

54 




(AAWC) recalled an altitude of 
, p. 730). 



U 

(e) (IDS) observed TN 4131 at 
445 kts at an altitude of 7800 ft and descending during 
engagement. He recalled it being a minute from launch. USS 
VINCENNES's system information showed TN 4131 at an altitude of 
12,000 ft., a scending, and at 380Kts. CIO Exhitiil 'M M^^M 
p. 62U). 

U 

(f) (/) At 0654:05 the firing key was turned and 
" FORWA RD/AFTER LAUNCHER UPGRADE" alerts were sent. (10 Exhibit 



u 

(g) {^) Three seconds later MBMBB (AAWC) 
(after receipt of a "SELECT WEAPON " message ) correctly hit the 
"STANDARb MlS^lLE" button. An "ORDER SENT" message was recefved 
in response. (10 Exhibit 91). 

y 

(h) ip) 

6000-7000 ft at engagement. (j 

(i) (?) 



(AIC-3) rec alled T N 4131 at 
an altitude of 7-8000 feet at missile launch. i^^^M' P* 706). 

(j) ip) BBBBI^M (MSS) hit "REQUEST RADIATION 
ASSIGN" button causing illuminator #3 to be assigned to TN 4131. " 
He then received a "LAUNCHER ASSIGN" alert. (10 Exhibit 91). 

(k) if) ^H^^^^^l (MSS) requested and received 
verbal confirmation of the "TAKE" order from the AAWC. (10 
Exhibit 204). 

U 

(1) ip) USS VINCENNES reported TN 4131 at 
altitude of 12,500 ft over Link 11. (IP Exhibit 91 

- 

(m) (jf) H^HI^H (TIC) recalled giving range 
and altitude reports once a mile after 11 NM. B etween 15 NM and 
11 NM he recalled no change in altitude. QI^H.' PP* ^'76, 683). 

(n) (jf) At time 0654; 19, I ^WM M (MSS) hit 
the "FIRING AUTHORIZE" button. TN 4131 was at 10 NM. (IP 
Exhibit 91;. 

U 

(o) (^) At 0654;22, a missile left the forward 
launcher, rail A. TN 4131 was at 10 NM, BRG 010, SPD 385 and ALT 
12,950. — One s econd later the second missile lett the forward'^ 
fair: (10 Exhibit 91). 



(P) (/) 

NM TN 4131 was 7800 feet 
to get out of my mind" (| 



^■^^■■(49 ADT) recalled that at 10 
He stated "That, I haven't been able 
■I, p. 596). 



MM 



55 



(q) (^) ■^H^^H recalled hearing after the 

shot that the altitude was 7800 ft. (^BB* P* 640). 

U 

(r) (^) ^^^^HBI (TIC) recalled the missiles 
leaving the rail when TN 4131 was 10,000 feet at 10 NM, altitude 
d eclin ing. He also recalled it at 9 NM at missile launch. 
(^^■, pp. 683, 686). 

0 ^ 

(s) (/) l^l^l^^H (IAD) was in process of 
initiating the last IA D warning when missiles went off. The 
message was not sent. (^^^^Hf P* 610). 

l> 

(t) (#) The sound of missiles going off was 
recorded on IAD net. (10 Exhibit 203). 

U 

(u) (a) TN 4133, an Iranian C-1 30, was reported 
by SPY-1 as tak ing off from Bandar Abbas. RNG was 42 NM. (10 
Kxhibit 91) (10 Exhibit 232). 

U 

(v) if) USS VINCENNES sent an altitude report of 
1 3,000 feet for TN 4131 in a Link 11 message. This was followed 
by a "FIRING" and two "B^RDS AWAY" messages. Net cycle time was 
4 seconas. (XQ ExniDit s^ij. 

g 

(w) {ji) SPY-"1 reported detection of both 
standard missiles outbound to TN 4131. (10 Exhibit 91). 

0 ~ 
(x) if) Four seconds later ^ terminal homing 
began . Illuminator #2 was used -and illuminator #3 was turned 
off. (10 axhibit ^1). 

(y) (AIC~3) said he wrote IFF 

Mode 11-11 00 and Mode I II -6675 on his console shortly before 
intercept (^IHf p. 715). 

(z) (jt) ^^M^^M (49 ADT) took TN 4133 in 
close control and identified it as "UNKNOWN ASSUMED ENEMY". TN 



413:3 was squawking Mode I-ll. 

also took TN 4133 in close control. 



Two se conds later AAWC and IDS 
(10 Exhibits 91 & 132). 



(aa) (Jf) At 0654; 41, USS VINCENNES received last 
Mode G altitude from TN 4131 which was 12,900 Icfl ^BBH^MIW 
(49 ADT J returned to TN 4l31. (10 Exhibit 91). 

(bb) (J^) At 0654:43 missile #1 intercepted TN 
4131 at RNG of 8 NM, BRG 001, ALT 13,500, SPD 383. Altitude 
reported in Link 11 message from USS VINCENNES was 13,500": ^One 
secona later missile #2 intercepted TN 4131 and illuminator IT? 
turned off. (10 Exhibit 91). 



uvn^(^) 



(cc) ip) CO, USS MONTGOMERY, located on the 



56 



ship's port bridge wing, obser ved the missiles impact TN 4131 and 

the descent of the aircraft. (fHHI' ^^)* 

U 

(dd) {^) ■■■■■ (MSS) recalled an altitude 
of 7000 feet and range of 6 NM at intercept. System data 
indicated a range o f 7 NM after intercept. (10 ExhiDit yl, 

ms^gTpr^T^. 

u 

(ee) (^) i^^H^I^I (U BS) recal led target at 

7000 feet and 6 miles when it was shot. d^HI^H' P* 75^). 

U 

(ff) (Jf) At 0654; 51, the system assessed "KILL" 
and sent "PROBABLE KILL WITH TRACK" message to AAWC. (10 [ 
Jixnibit yij. 

U ^^^^^^ 

(/) ^^IHI^^I recalled recordi ng alt itude 

of 7800 and range 6 NM on his console at intercept. (B^B* P* 
712). 

U 

(hh) {^) TN 4131, at 17 sec after intercept, was 
at altitude 12,000 per USS" VINCENNES Link 11 message, (10 
exhibit 31). 



(9) 0655Z 



)*^N 



(a )^ TN 4131 descended rapidly following missile 
intercept. Altitudes recorded by the system were as follows (10 



Exhibit 91 

0655:04 - 
14 - 
24 - 
34 - 
44 - 
0655:54 - 
0 

(b) (/) The aircraft went down approximately 6.5 
miles east of Hengham Island at 26-37. 75 'N/56-01 'E. This was 
3.37 miles west of the center line of Air Route A-59. (10 
Exhibit 102). 



10,500 ft. 
8, 300 
6,500 
4, 700 
3,000 
1,900 



3. Pacts Bearing on the Commanding Officer's Decision 



a. Table 1 summarizes the information detailed in the 
prior section that was available to CO USS VINCENNES with respect 
to TN 4131. (See Table 1). 



57 



> > 



i 



-•.1 



o 

I 

9< 



3 tq 



o! 



CD n 
• w 

OD Z 

?c o 



1 " 

I n 



5 ° 

z n 

H tn 

w o 

n n 

n z 

n o 

g8 



> c 



CO 

IS 



I (n 

1 o 
i c 
: W 
1 O 



•f 



cn 



•4 
> 



PS 

5 



X 

7« Z 



»- : K 
O CO 



a 


o 


> 


PI 


n 




VI 


« 


i 


n 


n 




n 


PI 


»< 


z 


z 




o 


o 




(0 


w 


> 










s 


o 






' n 






z 






o 


o 


o 


M 









7! ;0 ' N> i O • u 

[• i w I t: ' • 

1^ "B ' <S ; ^ 

W i ; i 

O itl . K> M - 

_ J 1 m . o : 

o , a • z 

Z * 

s • : 



• > 

15 



> > , 

70 . » Z I 
o o I cn ; 



5 





■"'i 






is . 


j 















57a 



u 

b. CAPT Rogers recalled having the following 

indicators in declaring track 4131 hostile and deciding to 
engage: 

(1) {$) F-14s had been recently moved to Bandar 
Abbas. (Rogers, p. 835). 

U 

(2) (/) Iranian fighters had flown coincident with 
surface engagement on 18 April 1988. (Rogers, p. 839). 

U 

(3) (/) The aircraft was not responding to verbal 
warnings over IAD or MAD. (Rogers, pp. 838, 846). 

U 

(4) (^) There had been warnings of an increased 
threat over the July 4th weekend. (Rogers, p. 835). 

U 

(5) (^) Increased hostile activity had been 
predicted for the 48 hours following recent Iraqi military 
victory. (Rogers, p. 835). 

U 

(6) (^) The aircraft was not following the air 
corridor in the same manner as other commercial aircraft had been 
seen consistently to behave (i.e., flying exactly on the 
centerline). (Rogers, p. 850). 

(7) if) It was flying at a reported altitude which 
was lower than COMAIR were observed to fly in the past. 
(Rogers, pp. 847, 850). 

U 

(8) if) Track 4131 was reported to be increasing in 
speed. (Rogers, p. 838). 

U 

(9) (/) Track 4131 was reported to be decreasing in 
altitude. (Rogers, p. 838). 

(10) (^) Track 4131 was CBDR to USS VINCSNNES and USS 
MONTGOMERY. (Rogers, p. 837). 

U 

(11) if) Track 4131 was reported by USS VINCENNES's 
personnel squawking Mode 11-1100 which correlates with an F-14. 
(Rogers, p. 837). 

U 

(12) ijg) No ESM was reflected from track 4131, 
however, F-14s can fly "cold-nose" (no emitters). (Rogers, p. 
838) . 

U 

(13) (^) F-14s have an air-to-surface capability 
with Maverick and modified Eagle missiles. (10 Exhibits 9 & 10). 

(14) (^) The aircraft appeared to be maneuvering into 
an attack position. (Rogers, p. 838). 



58 



(15) : (^) Pk of on board defensive missile systems 
diminishes inside 10 NM. (Rogers, pp. 838-839). 

U 

(16) (/) Visual identification of the aircraft was 
not feasible. (Rogers, p. 839). 

U 

c. {$) ^^^^^B^ recalled the following additional 
indicators which. he use in assessing the threat posed by TN 4131. 

U 

(1) ip) The aircraft had lif ted off from a military 
airfield in Iran heading south. C^HHl' P* 812). 

U 

(2) (^) The aircraft appeared to veer toward USS 
MONTGOMERY aft er CAPT Rogers ordered that the target be 
illuminated. (^l^H* P* 814). 

U 

(3) if) The aircraft's lift off from Bandar Abbas was 
observed to be in a pattern that did not match previous COMAIR 
flights. (■^■f P- 812). 



(4) (ft) Track 4131 was reported as an F-14. (^^| 
0 

(5) {^) SSES provided no information t o nega te the 
reported assertion that track 4131 was an F-14. (^^■■r p- 

U 

(6) (/) P-3 turn ed inbou nd and was tracking in the 
classic targeting profile. (^HH P* B14). 



p. -812) 

ipor 
813). 



MM 



Wit) 



d. (jf) CJTFME considered the following indicators under 
the ROE when concurring in USS VINCENNES decision to engage track 
4131: 

U 

(1) if) The aircraft had been identified by USS 
VINCENNES as an F-14. 

V 

(2) (/) USS VINCENNES indicated that the aircraft 
was inbound on USS VINCENNES. 

U 

(3) ip) USS VINCENNES was told to warn the aircraft. 

(H||^B p. 426; p. 856). 



D. POST ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITY 



1. Search and Rescue 



a. {&^) The IRGC boats which were involved in the gun 
fight with VINCENNES /MONTGOMERY departed the area toward the 
wreckage in the very early 0700Z hour. (10 232, recap of events) 



59 



u 

b. ( OMP ) Several Iranian helicopters were in the area of 
the wreckage by 6750Z and Iranian F-4's, which had departed 
Bandar Abbas at 0717Z, circled the wreckage site at approx 0840Z 
(10 232, 129, recap of events) 

, 0 

c. (9t*P») At least 1 hovercraft and up to 20 small boats 
including tugs were probably involved in a SAR effort from 0800Z 
thru 1200Z. (10 232, 129 recap of events) 

d. (U) An unofficial list of Iranian Air FLT 655 
passengers and crew is included as 10 Exhibit 237. 

U 

e. («») USS MONTGOMERY and USS VINCENNES wer^ordered 

by "GW" to provide assistance to the crash site. (^H^IBp*^^) ()^cVH&) 

f. (e^MJSS VINCENNES offered assistance but got no (^M)»> 
response. (H^IBP*^^) COin^^ 

2. Operational Reporting 

a. (U) 0719Z - VINCENNES reported F-14 splashed over 
CMEF Execution Net. 

b. {f) CJTFME initially reported the boat engagement by 
CJTFME 030710Z JUL 88, OPREP-3P/004. Included was the first 
indication to an "unknown assumed hostile closing from north." 
(10 Exhibit 267). 

c. (jf) COTFME updated their OPREP-3/004 with CJTFME 
030727Z JUL 88, OPREP-3/004A, confirming kill of an Iranian F-14. 
Details of altitude, speed, and IFF were provided. (10 Exhibit 
266) 

• d. (^) CJTFME OPREP-3P/004B 031445Z JUL 88 reported the 
downing of the probable F-14 and noted that CJTFME had been 
informed of the fact that IR 655 was overdue at Dubai. (10 
Exhibit 265) 

e, (j^) VINCENNES OPREP-3 031630Z JUL 88 was readdressed 
by CJTFME under the same DTG providing a timeline for both 
surface and air engagement and reconfirming altitude as 7800 feet 
and descending, speed 445kts, mode II, 1100, ID as F-14, and that 
the aircraft had ignored MAD and IAD warnings. Additionally, TN 
4131, Bearing/Range 005T/9NM; mode III, 6675, course 185T, and 
CBDR amplifying data was supplied (10 Exhibit 233). (10 Exhibit 
171 further amplifies.) 



60 



XV. OPINIONS 



A. GENERAL 

1. (U) The USS VINCENNES did not purposely shoot down an 
Iranian commercial airliner. Rather, it engaged an aircraft the 
Commanding Officer, USS VINCENNES reasonably believed to be 
hostile and a threat to his ship and to the USS MONTGOMERY (FF 
1082). 

2. (U) Based on the information available to and used by the 
CO in making his decision, the short time frame available to him 
in which to make his decision, and his personal belief that his 
ship and the USS MONTGOMERY were being threatened, he acted in a 
prudent manner. 

3. (U) Iran must share the responsibility for the tragedy 
by hazarding one of their civilian airliners by allowing it to 
fly a relatively low altitude air route in close proximity to 
hostilities that had been ongoing, and where IRGC boats were 
actively engaged in armed conflict with U.S. Naval vessels. 

4. (U) The downing of Iran Air 655 was not the result of any 
negligent or culpable conduct by any U.S. Naval personnel 
associated with the incident. 

5. (U) Based on the information, available to CJTFME, his 
confidence in CAPT Rogers and the capabilities of USS VINCENNES, 
his concurrence to engage TN 4131 was correct. 

6. (U) The AEGIS Combat System's performance was excellent - 
- it functioned as designed. Had the CO USS VINCENNES used the 
information generated by his C&D system as the sole source of his 
tactical information, the CO might not have engaged TN 4131. 

7. (U) Time compression played a significant role in the 
incident. From the time the CO first became aware of TN 4131 as 
a possible threat, until he made his decision to engage, the 
elapsed time was approximately three minutes, 40 seconds. 
Additionally, the Commanding Officer's attention which was 
devoted to the ongoing surface engagement against IRGC forces 
(the "wolf closest to the sled"), left very little time for him 
to personally verify information provided to him by his CIC team- 
>a team in which he had great confidence. The fog of war and 
those human elements which affect each individual differently — 
not the least of which was the thought of the Stark incident — are 
factors that must be considered. 

8. (U) The digital data extracted from USS VINCENNES data 
recording tapes is valid and provided invaluable insights and 
information for the reconstruction of the events of 3 July 1988 



61 



including the evaluation of individual CIC console operator 
actions. 

U 

9. {$) The Commanding Officer VINCENNES decision to engage 
TN 4131 was based primarily. on the following: 

(a) (U) The aircraft had lifted off from an airfield used 
jointly by military and civilian aircraft in Iran heading 
directly toward his ship at a relatively low altitude. 

(b) (U) Track 4131 was CBDR to USS VINCENNES and USS 
MONTGOMERY. 

(c) (U) TN 4131 was flying at a reported altitude which 
was lower than USS VINCENNES observed COMAIR to fly previously. 
Additionally, it was not flying exactly on the airway centerline 
as USS VINCENNES had seen previous COMAIR consistently do. 

(d) (U) It appeared to veer toward the USS MONTGOMERY. 

(e) (U) Track 4131 was reported to be increasing in 
speedr decreasing in altitude, and closing range. 

u 

(£) if) No ESM was reflected from track 4131, however, 
P-14s can fly "cold-nose" for delivery of weapons (no emitters). 

(9) (U) The aircraft was hot responding to verbal 
warnings over XAD or MAD. 

(h) if) Track 4131 was reported by USS VINCENNES 
personnel to be squawking Mode 11-1100 which historically 
correlated to Iranian F-14's. 

(i) (U) The aircraft appeared to be maneuvering into an 
attack position. 

(j) (U) Visual identification of the aircraft was not 
feasible due to the lack of combat air patrol. 

a 

(k) (/) Iranian fighter aircraft had flown coincident 
with the surface hostilities involving U.S. and Iranian Forces on 
18 April 1988. 

U 

(1) (/) Warnings had been issued for increased hostile 
activity for the 48 hour period which included the July 4th 
weekend . \j 

(m) {jt) An Iranian P-3 airborne to the west of USS 
VINCENNES, turned inbound and was tracking in a classic targeting 
mode . 

(n) (U) The Stark incident. 



62 



M 

(o) {$) Iranian F-14's have an air-to-surface capability 
with Maverick missiles, iron bombs, and modified Eagle unguided 
rockets . 

(p) (U) TN 4131 could have been a suicide attack. 

10. ^ Having other forces under his tactical control (SIDES, 

MONTGOMERY) intensified the CO USS VINCENNES ' s feeling of 
responsibility to defend his task group from hostile action. 

11. ^The information available to CO, USS VINCENNES, upon 
which he based his decisions, conflicted in some cases with the 
data available in USS VINCENNES* command and decision (C&D) 
system. Specifically: 

(a) (U) The C&D system contained no Mode 11 IFF 
information on TN 4131 yet operators in CIC had used Mode II as a 
means of declaring TN 4131 an Iranian F-14. 

(b) (U) The C&D system showed TN 4131 continuously 
ascending, while the CO received reports of "descending altitude" 
immediately prior to enabling the firing key. 

12. (U) Psychological factors: As the investigation 
developed, and it was discovered that there were disparities 
between the C&D tape data and what .various members of CIC 
believed they saw,; the senior investigating officer requested the 
professional advice of USN Medical Corps personnel who have 
studied combat stress. The following opinions draw heavily on 
their conclusions. (See End. 18) 

- Stress, task fixation, and unconscious distortion of 
data may have played a major role in this incident. 

- TIC and IDS became convinced track 4131 was an Iranian 
F-14 after receiving the IDS report of a momentary Mode II. 

- After this report of the Mode II, TIC appears to have 
distorted data flow in an unconscious attempt to make available 
evidence fit a preconceived scenario. ("Scenario fulfillment") 

- Tie's perception that there was an inexperienced, weak 
leader in the AAWC position led to the emergence of TIC in a 
leadership role. TIC's reports were accepted by all and could 
have influenced the final decision to launch missiles. 

13. (U) Captain Rogers' action in delaying engagement of TN 
4131 with missiles until it was well within 15 NM demonstrated an 
appreciation for the seriousness of the consequences of his 
actions and was balanced with his responsibility to defend his 
ship. 



63 



B- RULES OF ENGAGEMENT 

1. (U) CJTFME and CO, USS VINCENNES, properly selected and 
applied the correct Rules of Engagement to both the surface and 
air engagements. 

2. (U) Based upon the information presented to Captain 
Rogers, engagement of TN 4131 was within the parameters of the 
Rules of Engagement. 

^' ^"-^.^^.^^^^^Q^^jygQ^PQ^TES VARIOUS OPINIONS RELATED TO THE 
USS viJMUiilJviNES • S TRAINING, READINESS, AND BATTLE ORGANIZATION. 

1. Training and Readiness /Battle Doctrine. 

a. (U) The USS VINCENNES was adequately trained to 
perform her missions as a unit of JTFME. 

b. (U) With the exception of the AAWC position, USS 
VINCENNES' General Quarters AAW watch organization was 
experienced and qualified. 

c. (U) Ship's Battle Doctrine was sound. 

2. CXC Watch Organization. 

a. (U) "GW" was considered by CO USS VINCENNES as his 
primary force and ship air warfare advisor. 

b. (U) The Persian Gulf modifications to the USS 
VINCENNES 's CIC organization moved the ship's AAW coordination 
function away from AAWC and left him acting largely as a console 
operator. Assignment of "GW" to Force AAW, Ship AAW, and MEF 
execution net talker for surface and air SITREPS degraded his 
ability to independently assess the actual profile and ID of TN 



3. Material/Combat Systems Readiness. 

(U) There were no AEGIS combat systems maintenance or 
materiel problems which contributed to the incident. 

D. SURFACE ENGAGEMENT 

1. (U) OCEAN LORD 25 took hostile fire from one of the 
groups of IRGC small boats it had been monitoring. 

2. (U) The group of boats which USS VINCENNES took under 
fire included the group which had fired at OCEAN LORD 25. 

3. (U) USS MONTGOMERY and USS VINCENNES were fired upon by 
IRGC gun boats during the course of the surface engagement. 



4. (U) The ongoing surface engagement was a significant 
factor in increasing tension within USS VINCENNES's CIC. 

5. (U) Theifoul bore and resulting high speed maneuvering of 
the ship to keep MT 52 in position to engage IRGC craft were 
complicating factors which prevented the CO from devoting his 
full attention to TN 4131, and it contributed to the tension in 
the CIC of USS VINCENNES. 

6. (U) The surface engagement conducted by USS VINCENNES 
and USS MONTGOMERY was effective. 

E. AIR ENGAGEMENT . 

!• (■) SSES probably made the initial alert of an F-14 
coincident with the recognition of TN 4131 by CIC. However, even 
if SSES did not make this identification, CIC personnel believed 
SSES did, prov iding TN 4131 with posit ive (though inaccurate) 
identification 




2. (U) At no time did IR 655 actually descend in altitude 
prior to engagement. 

3. (U) Iran Air Flight 655, an Airbus 300, was on a normal 
climb out from Bandar Abbas and was flying within the established 
air route, A-59, from Bandar Abbas to Dubai. 

4. (U) IR 655 was not on the » exact center of airway A-59, 
but was 3.37 NM west of the centerline. However, it was in the 
assigned airway. 

5. (U) Iran Air Flight 655 was not squawking Mode 11-1100, 
but squawked Mode III -6760 during the entire flight. 

6. (Jf) The IDS mis-correlated an RCI readout of Mode 11-1100 
with TN 4131. This occurred, according to analysis of the data, 
when the IDS hooked TN 4131 as it departed Bandar Abbas and left 
it hooked for almost 90 seconds. This meant that as the hooked 
symbol moved toward USS VINCENNES the read-gate for the RCI 
remained near Bandar Abbas. A Mode II transmission from an 
aircraft on the ground in Bandar Abbas would then be displayed in 
his RCI if the signal could get to the ship. 

7. ip) The un-correlated IFF Mode 11-1100 obtained by IDS 
could have been generated by a military aircraft (C-130, F-4, 
F-14) located on the ground at Bandar Abbas. This was supported 
by his IDS' RCI set-up and the RF ducting condition in effect on 
3 July. Therefore, any number of military aircraft, present at 
the airfield, could have responded to a Mode II IFF interrogation 



65 



by USS VINCENNES due to the ducting conditions prevalent that 
day. 

8. (U) The CO, "GW" and key CIC AAW operators sincerely 
believed that they were engaging a hostile aircraft. 

9. (U) The range and altitude information passed to the CO 
on Net 15 was correct until TN 4131 reached approximately 15 NM. 
Approximate time 06; 53; 45 . 

U 

10. (ji) TN 4133 (Iranian C-130) which departed Bandar Abbas 
almost simultaneously with missile launch was squawking Mode I -11 
and could have been a potential source of confusion between Mode 
I-ll and Mode 11-1100 on IDS and AAWC*s RCI. 

11. (U) In the excitement of the impending engagement, it is 
entirely possible that reports of decreasing altitude passed over 
the net by TIC after the 15 NM point could have occurred if TIC 
passed only range values, which were interpreted as altitude, or 
he simply mis^read his CRO and interchanged altitude and range* 

12. (U) The ship's air controller supervisor's recollection 
of 7800 ft altitude at 6 NM was actually the altitude of TN 4131 
33 seconds after missile intercept. In other words, the plane's 
altitude as it was plummeting to the water. 

13. (U) Recollection of Mode III IFF responses other than 
6760 for TN 4131 were caused by Imperfect recall by the IDS, ACS, 
AAWC, SSES, console operators in CIC, as well as the post 
incident SITREP writer. 

14. (U) The violent maneuvers of the ship, the noise of the 
guns firing, gear falling in CIC and the lights in the LSD's 
flickering, heightened the tension in CIC during the critical 
time TN 4131 was being evaluated. 

15. (SJ) Except for Mode IV, IFF codes are not absolute 
determinators for engagement. Mode III is the least reliable 
because all aircraft are capable of squawking Mode III. 

U, 

16. (ar) AN/SLQ-32 Set-up in USS VINCENNES /SIDES /MONTGOMERY 
were adequate to intercept a COMMAIR radar. The position and 
nose attitude of Flight 655 precluded AN/SLQ-32 from 
intercepting/displaying IR 655 's radar — if it was in fact 
transmitting. 

17. (U) There were no Link-11 dual designations (two 
separate vehicular tracks with the same LINK-11 STN) of TN 4131 
during the period of interest. Therefore, a LINK-11 track 
crossover problem did not occur. 



66 



18. (U) The warnings issued by USS VINCENNES over IAD and 
MAD nets were transmitted and were heard by other units. 
However, it is impossible to know whether a particular aircraft 
has heard a challenge unless it replies or turns away. 

F. COMMERCIAL AIR 

1» (U) Commercial air, particularly commercial air from 
Iran, is at risk in the Persian Gulf as long as hostilities 
continue in the area. Unless an aircraft can be visually 
identified as a non~threat, any aircraft approaching a U.S. Navy 
ship could be considered a threat. However, an aircraft at high 
altitude (above 25,000 ft) will likely not be evaluated as a 
threat. 



2. (^) U.S. Navy units operating in the Persian Gulf have 
insufficient current information on commercial traffic schedules, 
on commercial air routes, and on the type and ranges of IFF codes 
used by commercial traffic. With over 1,000 commercial flights 
per week within the Persian Gulf area, it would be difficult for 
individual ships to maintain current, accurate airline 
information. 

3. (U) Due to heavy pilot workload during take-off and 
climb-out, and the requirment to communicate with both Approach 
Control arid Tehran Center, the pilotr,^of Iran Air Plight 655 
probably was not monitoring IAD. 

4. (U) Any aircraft, including commercial aircraft, could be 
used in a suicide mission role, therefore. Commanders cannot 
disregard an aircraft squawking Mode III, IFF, flying on a 
commercial air corridor, and on a CBDR to his ship. 

5. (U) Current verbal warnings and challenges used by JTFME 
units are ambiguous because they do not clearly identify to 
pilots exactly which aircraft the ship is attempting to contact. 

6. (U) The limited number of VHP radios on U.S. surface 

units degrades their ability to simultaneously monitor the IAD 
frequency and communicate with civilian air traffic control 
agencies. 

7. (U) Bandar Abbas Tower, Approach Control and Tehran 
Center did not hear, or failed to relay, the IAD warnings issued 
by USS VINCENNES to IR 655. 

U 

8. (/) The current tools used by the U.S. Navy for 
differentiating between friendly and hostile unknown aircraft 
were designed primarily for the open ocean environment. U.S. 
Naval weapon systems can reach further and often react more 
quickly than sensors can evaluate. This is especially true 



67 



in the Persian gulf areas where reaction time is constrained by 
geography. Therefore altitude is one of the most useful 
indicators for establishing "no hostile intent." 

G. CJTFME 

1. (U) CJTFME 's confidence in CO USS VINCENNES, and in the 
capability of the AEGIS system, coupled with information 
available to him in his Flag Plot, were the factors involved in 
his concurrence with CO, USS VINCENNES decision to engage TN 
4131. He exhibited prudence and good judgment in telling USS 
VINCENNES to warn the aircraft before engaging it. 

2. (U) Because CJTFME did not have a usable real time data 
Link, he could not have independently verified the data provided 
by USS VINCENNES regarding TN 4131. 

3. (U) The CJTFME watch organization was sound, personnel 
were qualified and they performed satisfactorily. 



68 



V • a£COMM£NDAT I ONS 



A. General 




(^) Since it appears that combat induced stress on 



personnel may have played a significant role in this incident, it 
is recommended the CNO direct further study be undertaken into 
the stress factors impacting on personnel in modern warships with 
highly sophisticated command, control, communications and 
intelligence systems, such as AEGIS. This study should also 
address the possibility of establishing a psychological profile 
for personnel who must function in this environment. 
Additionally, it is recommended CNO task the Surgeon General of 
the Navy with the responsibility of providing any necessary 
psychological/psychiatric assistance to crewmembers of the USS 
VINCENNES in anticipation of possible post --traumatic stress 
syndrome. This should be done at the earliest possible time to 
ensure best results. (Enclosure 23 pertains). 




69 



\ 




4. (U) That no changes be made to the existing ROE. 

5. (U) To prevent the possibility that commercial aircraft 
could become innocent victims in this area of armed conflict, the 
USG should seek ICAO's immediate attention to revise the 
existing commercial air route structure over the waters of the 
Persian Gulf. The State Department should direct our embassies 
to urge affected countries to cooperate in this endeavor. 
Pending the results of this request, the USG should also urge 
ICAO to promulgate an immediate NOTAM that all flights climb to 
at least 25,000 feet over land prior to crossing the Gulf and 
begin their descent over land. 




?• (U) That CJTFME strengthen the MEF "inchop brief" to 
include an in depth review of the unique problems associated with 
COMAIR within the Persian Gulf Area. 

8. (U) That CJTFME continue to liaise with Air Traffic 
Control agencies and American embassies to resolve the COMAIR 
problems unique to the Persian Gulf Area (e.g., identification, 
communications, ICAO procedures, etc.). 

B. USS VINCENNES BATTLE ORGANIZATION 

1. (U) That the Commanding Officer, USS VINCENNES, take 
action as required to strengthen the AAWC position in the USS 
VINCENNES' CIC organization. 



70 



2. (U) That the Commanding Officer, USS VINCENNES, document 
any CIC organization modifications required by Persian Gulf 
operations in the existing Battle Doctrine. If the USS 
VINCENNES uses a split warfare TAO CIC organization e.g., surface 
and air, "GW" should not be given MEF . execution net 
responsibility as a radio telephone talker. 

C. AEGIS SYSTEM RECOMMENDATIONS; 

1. (U) It is recommended the CNO: 

a. (U) Determine the cause of reported STC-2/IVCS net 
15/16 degradation (due to loading), and issue a class advisory if 
required. 

b- (U) Reassess the design of the AEGIS large screen 
display (LSD) to allow the option of displaying altitude 
information directly on the LSD. 

c. (U) Investigate the best means of providing a mode 
in the UPX-29 which will slave the RCI challenge gate to a hooked 
track . 

D. TRAINING ENHANCEMENTS . 

1. (U) If we must operate in a low intensity conflict and in 
the presence of COHAIR, we must traizi^ to that environment, real 
or simulated. Request the CNO develop a fleet wide 
identification matrix for dense air traffic environments in third 
world/low intensity conflicts. Battle Group training doctrines, 
AAW procedures, numbered Fleet Commander Fighting Instructions, 
and workups should reflect consensus on ID matrices to deconflict 
CpMAIR within war zones, when being used as "cover" for military 
aircraft, or when being used as suicide attackers. For 
example, live missile exercises could include a percentage of 

the inbound drones be flown on COMAIR profiles, with proper modes 
and codes, in close proximity of simulated hostile targets. 
Another method would be to have aggressor aircraft act as COMAIR 
to challenge the deconf liction capabilities of surface ships 
with/without VXD capability. 

2. (U) Request CNO review AEGIS IFF operator training 

procedures and provide a class advisory to ensure operator 
familiarity of pros, and cons of various RCI selectable modes. 

WILLIAM M. FOGARtY 



71 



EXHIBITS 



1. 
2, 

3. 
4. 
5, 
6« 

7, 
8. 
9- 

10. 

11. 

12. 
13, 
14. 

15. 
16. 
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APPOINTING ORDER WITH AMENDMENTS 
I^^Bm (DESIGNATION LETTER DTD 10 JUL 88) 

CAPT ROGERS (DESIGNATION LETTER DTD 10 JUL 88) 
IDES I GNAT I ON LETTER DTD 10 JUL 88) 
(DESIGNATION LETTER DTD 10 JUL 88) 
INTELLIGENCE PRIEF AND OPERATIONS SUMMARY RELATIVE TO THE 
EVENTS OF 3 JUL 88 

USS HALSEY 020500Z JUL 88; SUBJ: MARREP 
CJTFME INCHOP BRIEF TO ALL UNITS 

CJTFME 011610Z J UN 88; SUBJ: FORCE INTEL ADVISORY - 
085/71/88 - IRANIAN WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT (U) 
CJTFME 2005102 JUN 88; SUBJ: FORCE INTEL ADVISORY - 
096/88 - IRAF AIRCRAFT MODIFICATION PROJECTS (U) 
FOSIF WESTPAC 061021Z MAY 88; SUBJ: INCHOPPER SUPPORT MESSAGE 
(lO/PG-OB) - IRANIAN AIR OPERATIONS </) ? AND CTG 801.7 AAW OPTASK 
DOD FLIGHT I NFORMATION PUB: AIRP ORT FACILITY DIRECTORY 
STATEMENT OF ■{^■^■■^^B 

INTELLIGENCE BRIEFIN G AND OPERATION S SUMMARY COMPILED FOR 
THE INVESTIGATION BY IH^^^IK^ 

PERSIAN GULF CHARTS (H^B^^HBl INTEL BRIEFING) 
US FORCES DISPOSITION AT 030330Z JUL 88 
US FORCES DISPOSITION AT 030330Z JUL 88 (GRAPH) 
ALLIED FORCES DISPOSITION AT 030330 Z JUL 88 (GRAPH) 
VINCENNES - SIDES - MONTGOMERY DISPOSITION AT 030400Z JUL 88 
(GRAPH) 

VINCENNES - SIDES - MDNTGOME^JY- DISPOSITION AT 030519Z JUL 88 
(GRAPH) 

VINCENNES - SIDES - MONTGOMERY DISPOSITION AT 030610Z JUL 88 
(GRAPH) 

OF ^^^■■■■■■B 

VINCENNES - SIDES - MONTGOMERY DISPOSITION AT 030642Z JUL 88 
(GRAPH) 

VINCENNES - SIDES - MONTGOMERY DISPOSITION AT 030655Z JUL 88 

(GRAPH) 

I— ^^MM ' ' '"" ACT STATEMENT) 

STATEMENTOF^^B^I^^^IB 

USS ELMER MONTGOMERY: EW LOG 

USS ELMER MONTGOMERY: MEF EX LOB 

USS ELMER MONTGOMERY: POSITION LOG 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 

USS SIDES: IFF CORRELATION CODES 
STATEMENT OF 

STATEMENT OF 

DIAGRAM OF GUN ENGAGEMENT 

DRAWING OF DOWNED AIRCRAFT (^■■^■||) 
USS ELMER MONTGOMERY: DRT 030905C JUL 88 





Mem 



(' 



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USS ELMER MONTGOMERY: DECK LOB 

DRAWING OF AIRCRAFT'S B EARING IN RELATION TO VINCENNES AND 
MONTGOMERY (■■■■■i) 

RECOMMENDED VERBAL WARNINGS TO AIRCRAFT 
DRAWING OF MONTGOMERY'S CIC (10) 
USS ELMER MO NTGOMERY: SAG A LOG 
STATEMENT OF JM—^B ^MB 

^B^MMi^^B I' II ' I I llllllli III il ACT STATEMENT) 
USS SIDES' NAVIGATION CHART 3 JUL 88 
DIAGRAM OF AIR CORRIDORS (USS SIDES) 

JCS 081107Z SEP 87; SUBJ: UPDATED NOTAM FOR PERSIAN 6ULF 
DIAGRAM OF CI^CUSS SIDES) 
STATEMENT OF 

STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF. 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF, 
STATEMENT Of| 
USS SIDES RD 390 -TAPE . . . . 

TASK CROUP ORGANIZATION AND LINK II PARTICIPANTS FOR 3 JUL 88 
USS SIDES: BATTLE ORDERS 
USS SIDES: STANDING ORDERS TO THE ODD 
USS SIDES: CIC LOG 
USS SIDES: DECK LOG 
STATEMENT OF 
DIAGRAM RADAR SYMBOLS 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 

CTG B01.7 011B53Z JUN 88; 
CTG 801.7 041748Z JUN 88; SUBJ: 
CTG 801.7 141757Z JUN 88; SUBJ: 
MANAGEMENT MATTERS 

USS VINCENNES 261149Z JUN 88; SUBJ: GULF ECHO EW COORDINATION 
MSG 01-88 

USS VINCENNES 031659Z JUN 88; SUBJ; UNIT SITREP 

USS ELMER MONTGOMERY 021503Z JUN 88; SUBJ: JUNE 2 OPS 

USS VINCENNES 02162BZ JUN 88; SUBJ: SAAM BOARD/SEIZURE (/) 

AEGIS SHIP COMBAT SYSTEM (SLIDE) 

AEGIS ENGAGEMENT SEQUENCE (SLIDE) 

AEGIS COMBAT SYSTEM (SLIDE) 

AEGIS DATA REDUCTION (SLIDE) 

LIST OF DATA RECOVERED FROM VINCENNES TAPES 

SPY-1 XY PLOT (CHART) 

SPY-1 RANGE TIME (CHART) 

SPY-1 RANGE HEIGHT (CHART) 

C&D DATA AND TRACK DATA (CHART) 

PERSIAN GULF AIR CORRIDORS: LOW ALTITUDE (CHART) 
DATA REDUCTION ANALYSIS OF VINCENNES TAPES (5 VOLS) 
KINEMATIC DATA-TRACK 4131 (SLIDE) 
TIME PERIOD OF CLOSE CONTROL-TRACK 4131 (SLIDE) 
IFF INFORMATION FROM TAPES (SLIDE) 




SUBJ: 



AEGIS LINK INTEROPERABILITY 
MEF OPGEN LIMA SUPPLEMENT 002 
NC/SC LINK II AND VOICE CKT 



95. LINK IFF TRACKS FROM TAPES (SLIDE) 

96. EMBARKED COMMAND AND OWNERSHIP COMMAND DISPLAY GROUPS (SLIDE) 

97. ADS CONSOLES (SLIDES) 

9Q. CRO PARTITIONING INTO AREAS (SLIDE) 

99. ADS VEHICULAR TRACK CLOSE CONTROL (SLIDE) 

100. CLOSE CONTROL DISPLAY (SLIDE) 

101. USS VINCENNES: NAVIGATION CHART 62393 

102. USS VINCENNES: NAVIGATION CHART 62392 

103. USS VINCENNES: CIC ROOM (SLIDE) 

104. USS VINCENNES: TIMELINE (8 CHARTS) 

105. USS VINCENNES: SPQ-9 TRACKS (FROM DATA) 

106. USS VINCENNES: FORCE TRACK MANAGEMENT OBSERVATIONS (FROM 



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IFF IMPLEMENTATION 





USS VINCENNES: 
USS VINCENNES: 
USS VINCENNES: 
USS VINCENNES: 
USS VINCENNES: 
DATA) 

DIAGRAM AEGIS 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 

USS VINCENNES: NAVIGATION CHART 62392 (2ND CHART) 
A. INVESTIGA TING TEAMS PLOT QF V INCENNES' TRACK CHART 62392 
STATEMENT ' OF 

STATEMENT OF 

ANALYSIS OF CHALLENGES AND WARNINGS TO AIRCRAFT 02 JUN 88 - 

02 JUL 88 ^ ^ . 

MESSAGES RELATING TO BRITISH AIR FLT 147 INCIDENT 
USS SIDES: IFF CODES (WCO CONSOLE) 
USS VALLEY FORGE: IFF CODES * 
USS HALSEY: IFF CODES 
USS JOHN HANCOCK: IFF CODES 
COMSEVENTHFLT 270355Z JUN 88: 
INFORMATION 

CJTFME 132040Z JUL 88; SUBJ: 
INFORMATION ADDENDUM (CHG-1) 

AIR CORRIDORS OVERLAYED ON PERSIAN GULF (DRAWING) 
MEF EX COMMU NICATIONS (VERBATIM TRANSCRIPT) 
STATEMENT OF ■■^■■^^^^■H 

CJTFME: WATCH LOG AND MEF EX LOG 
CJTFME: CMEF EXECUTION LOG 
PEACETIME RULES OF ENGAGEMENT 

CTG 801.7 142132Z MAY 88; SUBJ: OPTASK AAW/002 
DMAHTC 071602Z AUB 87; SUBJ: SPECIAL WARNING NUMBER 72 - 
PERSIAN GULF - STRAIT OF HORMUZ - GULF OF OMAN 
COMIDEASTFOR COMMAND ORIENTATION BRIEF 

JCS 081107Z SEP 87; SUBJ: UPDATED NOTAM FOR PERSIAN GULF 
COMIDEASTFOR OPORD 4000-85: TAB A TO APPENDIX 8 TO ANNEX C 
COMIDEASTFOR OPORD 4000-85: TAB B TO APPE NDIX 8 TO ANNEX C 
DRAWING OF CJTFME FLAG PLOT (■i^^^^B) 

USS VINCENNE S: CftSREPS 

STATEMENT OF ^■■■■IHH^HB 

CJTFME ORGANIZATIONAL CHART AND COMBINED WARFARE COMMANDERS 
USS VINCENNES: COMBAT SYSTEMS 8 O'CLOCK REPORTS 
USS VINCENNES: CSMC LOG 



MM 



SUBJ: COMMERCIAL FLIGHT 



COMMERCIAL AIRLINE FLIGHT 



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U5S VINCENNE5: 
USS VINCENNEB: 
USS VINCENNES: 
USS VINCENNES: 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
CTF 78.9 031422Z JUN 88; 
002 /J UN 
USS VINCENNES 
USS VINCENNES 
USS VINCENNES 
USS VINCENNES 
USS VINCENNES 
USS VINCENNES 
USS VINCENNES 
USS VINCENNES 
USS VINCENNES 
USS VINCENNES 



SOP FOR CONDITION 3 
IFF PMS FOR 13TH QTR 
PMS FOR AUTOMATED SYSTEMS 
SPY-1 PMS FOR 13TH QTR 



SUB J: OPTASK AIR HELO/CTF 801/ 



TAO TRAINING/QUALIFICATIONS 
WEAPONS QUALIFICATIONS OF 

AN/SLQ 32 (V) 3 OPERATIONAL/ MAINTENANCE LEGEND 
WATCHBILL 

LIST OF WATCHST ANDERS IN CIC 
POSITION LOG 
DECK LOG 

BRIDGE TO BRIDGE R/T LOG 

OVERVIEW OF OPERATIONS 26 MAY 88 - 01 JUL SB 
BATTLE DOCTRINE 
USS VALLEY FORGE: IFF CODES 

COMSEVEWTHFLT 270355Z JUN 86; SUBJ: COMMERCIAL FLIGHT 
INFORMATION 

CAPTAIN'S STANDING STEAMING AND BATTLE ORDERS 
EXERCISE AND INSPECTION STATUS REPORT 
ENROUTE TRAINING 
PRE-DEPLOYMENT TRAINING 
WATCHBILL PQS 

BATTLE GROUP FAMILIARIZATION TRAINING AND 
POST-EXERCISE REPORTS 

USS VINCENNES 061644Z JUL 88;- SUBJ: SMALL BOAT. ENGAGEMENT 
3 JUL 88 

WATCHBILL PGS 

MESSAGE REPORTS ON 3 JUL 88 AIR AND SURFACE 



USS VINCENNES: 
USS VINCENNES: 
USS VINCENNES: 
USS VINCENNES: 
USS VINCENNES: 
USS VINCENNES: 



TIMELINE OF SMALL BOAT ENGAGEMENT 



USS VINCENNES: 
USS VINCENNES: 
ENGAGEMENTS 
USS VINCENNES: 
STATEMENT OF 

DIAGRAM USS VINCENNES CIC 
STATEMENT OF 
USS VINCENNES: WEAPONS DOCTRINE 
USS VINCENNES: METEORLOGICAL DATA 
NAVOCEANCOMCEN 150600Z JUL 88; SUBJ: AIRBUS 655 
INVESTIGATION (DUCTING) 

JEWC 142330Z JUL 88s SUBJ: INVESTIGATION ASSISTANCE 
(DUCTING) 

ADMINSUPU BAHRAIN 140921Z JUL 88; SUBJ: INVESTIGATION 
ASSISTANCE (DUCTING) 



USCINCCENT 141900Z JUL 88; 
(DUCTING) 

USCINCCENT 122230Z JUL 88; 
WEATHER DATA 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
USS VINCENNES: 
STATEMENT OF 



SUBJ: INVESTIGATION ASSISTANCE 



SUBJ: INVESTIGATION SUPPORT - 




LARGE SCREEN DISPLAY (HARDCOPY) 



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LONG RANGE TRAINING PLAN 



STATEMENT = OF 
STATEMENT ; OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT. OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT i OF 
STATEMENT OF 
USS VINCENNES: 
PHOTOGRAPH RCl 

DIAGRAM RCl MODE I 11 

DIAGRAM RCl MODE I 10 
PHOTOGRAPH CRO SCREEN 

^■■■H COMMENTS ON STATEMENTS OF WITNESSES 
USS VINCENNE S! RD 390 TAPE 
STATEMENT OF ^Bi^lHBiiH 

USS VINCENNESINST 3120.1, SECTION 5/OFFICER TRAINING 
USS VINCENNESNOTE 1300, SUB J: EXECUTIVE ASSISTANTS, 
COLLATERAL DUTIES AND COUNCILS/BOARDS? ASSIGNMENT OF 
STATEMENT. OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT. OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
SI ANNEX (MESSAGE REFERENCES) 

CJTFME 031630Z JUL 88; SUBJ: AIRCRAFT ENGAGEMENT (READDRESSAL 
VINCENNES DPREP-3) 

USCENTAF ELF ONE CMD RIYADH 2000012 JUL 88; SUBJ: 
CONSOLIDATED OPGEN LIMA SERIAL NUMBER 8807-A 
IRAN AIR FLIGHT 655: FLIGHT STRIP AND FLIGHT PLAN 

ABU DHABI: OFFICIAL ATC LOG 

IRAN AIR FLT 655: LIST OF CREW AND PASSENGERS (UAE 

NEWSPAPER REPORT) 

PHOTOGRAPH OF AN AIRBUS A300 

JEWC 081630Z JUL SB; SUBJ: PRAYING MANTIS AFTER ACTION RPT 



MM 




240. ITS ESPERO: NEWS REPORT OF INCIDENT 

241. USD AO MUSCAT 0307 19Z JUL 88; SUB J: ALLEGED VIOLATION OF 
OMAN I TERRITORIAL WATERS 

242. USDAO MUSCAT 051134Z JUL 88; SUBJ: REPORT THAT NUMBER OF 
PASSENGERS ON BOARD IR FLT 655 FEWER THAN REPORTED 

243. JCS 030915Z JUL 88; SUBJ: DOWNING OF IRANIAN AIRCRAFT 
(REPORT OF DOWNED AIRLINER FROM DUBAI) 

244. HMS MANCHESTER 040522Z JUL 88; SUBJ: REPLY TO REQUEST FOR 
INFORMATION REGARDING IR FLT 655 

245. USS JOHN HANCOCK 0519212 JUL 88; SUBJ: IRANIAN AIR FLT 655 
(REPLY TO REQUEST FOR INFORMATION) 

246- AMEMBASSY PARIS 151045Z JUL 88; SUBJ: THE IRAN AIRBUS 
TRAGEDY: INFORMATION FROM AIRBUS INDUSTRIE 

247. AMEMBASSY PARIS 091059Z JUL 88; SUBJ: INFORMATION FROM 
AIRBUS INDUSTRIE 

248. SECSTATE 660040Z JUL 88; SUBJ: AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER 
QUESTIONS U.S. CLAIMS ON IRAN AIR 655 INCIDENT 

249. AMCONSUL MONTREAL 071937Z JUL 88; SUBJ: REQUEST FOR 
INFORMATION, AIRWAY A59 AND A59W WIDTH 

250. CTG 800, 1 .QS IBOOZ JUL Be; S UBJ; IRAN AIR..KLIGHT 655: 
STATEMENT OF 



251. CTG 800.1 032200Z JUL 88; SUBJ: TRANSCRIPTS OF 3 JUL 88 
(MEF EX) ' ' 7 . 

252. CTG 621.1 (ESPERO) 07141 OZ JUL* 88; SUBJ: REQUEST FOR 
INFORMATION - SURFACE TO AIR ENGAGEMENT OF 3 JUL 88 

253. CTG 621.1 (ESPERO) 090740Z JUL BB; SUBJ; REQUEST FOR 
INFORMATION - SURFACE TO AIR ENGAGEMENT OF 3 JUL 88 

254. CTG 801.3 031700Z JUL 88; SUBJ: UNITSITREP (INFORMATION 
LEADING UP TO AND IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING) 

255. CTF 801 030800Z JUL SB; SUBJ: 0PREP-3P (TIMELINE) 

256. CTF 801 031535Z JUL 88; SUBJ: DISTRESS ASSISTANCE SUMMARY 
OF 2 JUL 88 

257. CTG 801.7 031755Z JUL SB; SUBJ: SURFACE TO AIR ENGAGEMENT 
3 JUL (VERBATIM COMMS IAD) 

258. CTG 801.7 031305Z JUL 88: SUBJ: SURFACE TO AIR ENGAGEMENT 
3 JUL (VEli^BATIM COMMS MEF EX) 

259. CTG 801.7 031030Z JUL 88; SUBJ: SURFACE TO AIR ENGAGEMENT 
3 JUL (QUiCKLOOK SITREP) 

260. CTG 801.7 030736Z JUL 88; SUBJ; 0PREP-3P (TIMELINES) 

261. USS HALSEY 020500Z JUL 88; SUBJ: MARREP 

262. USCINCENT 152230Z JUL 88; SUBJ: UK DATA ON IRAN AIR FLT 655 

263. USS SIDES 061652Z JUL 88; SUBJ: BOGHAMMER/AIRCRAFT 
ENGAGEMENT 3 JUL 88 (/) (CANCEL 0320502) 

264. USS SIDES 0320502 JUL 88; SUBJ: BOGHAMMER/AIRCRAFT 
ENGAGEMENT 3 JUL 88 (/) 

265. CJTFME 031445Z JUL 88; SUBJ: 0PREP-3P/004B (ENGAGEMENT OF SMALL 
BOATS AND AIRCRAFT) 

266. CJTFME 030727Z JUL 88; SUBJ: OPREP-3PFB/004A (DETAILS ENGAGEMENT 
OF SMALL BOATS AND AIRCRAFT) 



STATEMENT 
STATEMENT 
STATEMENT 
STATEMENT 
STATEMENT 
STATEMENT 



OF 
OF 
OF 
OF 
OF 
OF 




267. 
• 

269, 

270. 

271. 

272. 
273, 
274. 

275. 

276. 
277. 
278. 

279. 

280. 

281. 

282. 
283. 
284. 
285. 
286. 
287. 
288. 

289. 
290. 

291. 
292. 

• 

294. 
295. 
296. 
297. 

298. 
299. 
300. 
301. 

302- 
303- 
304- 



SUBJ; PASSENGER DATA: 



SUB J: WALK-IN 5 AMERICAN 



REPORT OF MEETING WITH ABU DHABI 



CJTFME 030710Z JUL 88; SUBJ: 0PREP-3P/004 (DETAILS BOGHAMMER 
BOSTON WHALER TYPE BOATS TAKEN UDNER FIRE BY VINCENNES) 
CTG 800.1 032200Z JUL 83; SUBJ: TRANSCRIPTS OF 3 JUL 88 
(VERBATIM TRANSCRIPT OF MEF EX) 
AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 051215Z JUL 88; 
IRAN AIR FLIGHT 655 

AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 051351Z JUL 88; SUBJ: LOCAL REACTION 
TO IRAN AIR TRAGEDY - DAY TWO 
AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 07061 72 JUL 88; 
EMBASSY ABU DHABI 
UN CHARTER, ARTICLE 51 

BAHRAIN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: BAHRAIN FLIGHT INFO 
AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI APOLOGY FOR INCIDENT INVOLVING BRITISH 
AIR FLIGHT ^^^^^^ 
USLO ABU DHABI: |^ 
ATC 

USS VINCENNE S; FOUL BOR E/HOT GUN EXHIBITS 
STATEMENT OF ■■■^^^^■H 

CIA 142334Z JUL 88; SUBJ: COMMENTS BY SENIOR IRAN AIR 
OFFTCIA^REGARDING THE DOWNING OF IRAN AIR FLIGHT 655 
■■■■■■ 1S1332Z JUL 88; SUBJ: lAA RECOMMEND VHF LISTING 
WATCH PROCEDURE GULF AREA OPERATIONS 

IRANIAN REPORT TO ICAO ON THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF THE 
SHOOTING DOWN OF IRANIAN AIR FLT 655 BY U.S. NAVAL FORCES 
USS VINCENNES: TRANSCRIPT OF DSA (LINK) COORDINATION NET 
3 JUL 88 

DUBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.: INCIDENTS USN WARSHIPS 

DUBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: AIRCRAFT SUMMER SCHEDULE 

UAE; EMIRATES F.I.R. \ - .s 

UAE: AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE SYSTEI1 

ATC VHF FREQUENCIES FOR PERSIAN GULF 

AEROGULF HELO ROUTES TO OIL RIGS OFF UAE 

COMIDEASTFDR 210719Z AUG 86; SUBJ: ROE (RECOMMENDED WARNINGS 
TO AIRCRAFT) 

CJTFME 1318052 JUL 88; SUBJ: 3 JULY FOLLOW-UP ACTIONS 
AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 1408222 JUL 88; SUBJ; CIVAIR AND GULF 
ROUTES: MORE ON UAE VIEWS 
HMS BEAVER IAD TRANSCRIPTION AND TAPE 

USS DAHLGREN 1019252 JUL 88; SUBJ: LINK II TRACK INFORMATION 

CONCERNING DOWNING OF TRACK 4131 

USS ELMER MONTGOMERY: DECK LOG 

USS ELMER MONTGOMERY: CIC WATCH LOG 

USS ELMER MONTGOMERY: NC-2 TRACING 

USS ELMER MONTGOMERY: DRT TRACINSG 

USS ELMER MONTGOMERY 0308522 JUL 88; SUBJ; SUMMARY OF EVENTS 
OF 3 JUL 88 

USS VINCENNES: NAVIGATION CHART 62392 

USS VINCENNES: FINAL TIMELINE (FROM DETAILED DATA ANALYSIS) 

COMTHIRDFLT 2623592 APR 88; SUBJ: DEPLOYMENT 

COMTHIRDFLT 2102312 APR 88; SUBJ; USS VINCENNES DEPLOYMENT 

SCHEDULE 

CTF 801 1606032 MAY 88; SUBJ; TASK FORCE 801 PROMULGATION 
CTF 800 COMMAND STRUCTURE WIRING DIAGRAM 

DMAHTC 0716022 AUG 87; SUBJ: SPECIAL WARNING NUMBER 72. 
PERSIAN GULF-STRAIT OF HORMUZ-GULF OF OMAN 



r 



305. 
306. 
307. 
30S. 

309. 
310. 
311. 
312. 

o i o ■ 

314. 
315. 
316. 
317. 
31S. 




STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 
CDMDESRON 25 (BS) : STAFF WATCH TAPE RECORDINGS 
USS VINCENNESINST 3120.1 SHIP'S ORGANIZATION AND REGULATIONS 
MANUAL (CHAPTERS 1, 2 AND S) 
CTG B01.3: S TAFF WATCH LOG 
STATEMENT OF I^HHH^B 
USS VINCENNE5; LET TERS OF SUPPORT 
STATEMENT OF 
STATEMENT OF 

USS VINCENNES: MESSAGES REGARDING AEGIS/GW INTEROPERABILITY 
CAPT W. C. ROGERS (BIOGRAPHY/PRIVACY ACT STATEMENT) 
DRAWING OF VINCENNES CIC CONSOLE POSITIONS (CAPT ROGERS) 
DIAGRAM OF SM ALL BOAT "SWARM TAC TICS" (CAPT ROGERS) 
AND ^^^Hi^HI^H NOTES 




1 



Investigation Report 




Formal Investigation into the 
Circumstances Surrounding the 
Downing of Iran Air Hight 655 
on 3 July 1988 



APPENDUM TO FOGARTY INVESTIGATION REPORT 

Page 43, Para A, OPINIONS : subparagraph 9 (f) add after "how^,^JH? 
"F-1 4s can fly 'cold nose' [ J«" 



1320 
28 Jul 88 



From: Rear Admiral William M. Fogarty, USN 
To: Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command 

Subj: FORMAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING 

THE DOWNING OF A COMMERCIAL AIRLINER BY THE USS VINCENNES 
(CG 49) ON 3 JULY 1988 (U) 

Ref: (a) JAG Manual 

1. As directed by Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command, 
and in accordance with reference (a), a formal investigation 
was convened on 3 July 1988. The original record of hearings 
and additional documents are forwarded. 

2. The Investigating Officer, after inquiring in to all facts 
and circumstances connected with the incident which occasioned 
the investigation, and having considered the evidence, submits 
the following preliminary statement, executive summary, findings 
of fact, opinions and recommendations: 

I. PRELIMINARY STATEMENT 



1. By order of General George B. Crist, USMC, Commander in 
Chief, U.S. Central Command, dated 3 July 1988, Rear Admiral 
William M. Fogarty, USN, Director, Policy and Plans (J-5), U.S. 
Central Command, was appointed to conduct a formal investigation 
into the circumstances surrounding the downing of a commercial 
airliner by the USS VINCENNES on 3 July 1988. 

2. The formal investigation was conducted at the Administrative 
Support Unit, Bahrain, with preliminary interviews and informa- 
tion gathering conducted by the investigating team on board USS 
VINCENNES (CG 49), USS ELMER MONTGOMERY (FF 1082), USS SIDES 
(FFG 14), and USS CORONADO (AGF 11), flagship for Commander, 
Joint Task Force Middle East (CJTFME). 

3. Rear Admiral Fogarty, and an investigating team composed of 
five officers, arrived in Bahrain on the evening of 5 July 
1988. Preliminary interviews began on board participating 
units on 6 July 1988. Two additional investigating team members 
arrived 9/10 July 1988, one by way of Commander, Seventh Fleet, 
where he gathered information on the USS VINCENNES pre-deployment 
training. CJTFME, RADM A. A. LESS, USN? USS VINCENNES Commanding 
Officer, CAPT W. Rogers, USN; USS VINCENNES Force Anti-Air 
Warfare Coordinator (FAAWC), and USS SflNCENNES Tactical Action 
Officer (TAO), were designated as parties to the investigation. 
Formal hearings began on 13 July 1988 arid closed on the afternoon 
of 19 July 1988. 



4. The investigation inquired into all the events which occurred 
prior to, during, and immediately following the engagement of a 
Track Number (TN) 4131, later identified as Iran Air Flight \ 
655. This designation of TN 4131 is used interchangeably with 
Iran Air Flight 655 throughout the investigation. There were 
specific, technically complex issues that required the Investi- 
gating Officer to call upon the professional expertise of the 
Commander, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Dahlgren, and 
NAVSEA (PMS-400) personnel. The USS VINCENNES data recording 
tapes were hand delivered under chain-of -custody immediately 
following the incident to NWSC Dahlgren. After initial data 
reduction in the United States, technical representatives from 
NWSC Dahlgren, led by Head, AEGIS Program Office, and NAVSEA 
{PMS-400), representatives came to Bahrain and provided further 
analysis on the following matters: 

a. AEGIS Weapon System Mark 7 performance and operation; 

b. Performance and operation of the AN/SPY-IA radar; 

c. Operation and message content in Link 11; 

d. UPX-29 IFF operations; 

e. Reconstruction of Command and Decision (C&D) console 
operator actions? 

f. Comparison of tape data analysis with statements by 
operators ; 

g. C&D doctrine enabled and entered; 

h. Internal voice configuration and capability; and, . 

i. Environmental effects on system performance. I 

5. As the investigation progressed, the statements and testimony 
of the witnesses were integrated into the timeline extracted from 
the data reduction, to form a chronology of the engagement. That 
chronology is attached to the hearing. Timelines became essential 
elements of the investigation, particularly as regards the short 
time period (minutes and seconds) in which the Commanding Officer 
was required to make his decision to fire. This time period is 
referred to as the "critical time period" throughout the report. 

6. Because of a divergence between the recorded data on the USS 
VINCENNES * s tapes and the recollection of the witnesses concerning 
what they saw and when they reported what they saw, a USN Medical 
Corps Team consisting of a psychiatrist and a physiologist were 
requested by the Senior Investigating Officer to come to Bahrain. 
They arrived in Bahrain after the formal hearing closed. They 
were requested to determine whether the dynamics of the situation 
which confronted the crew of the USS VINCENNES impacted on their 
ability to perceive and relay the data which was available to them. 

7. Certain items relevant to the investigation were not 
available to the Senior Investigating Officer. These items 
were primarily those which Iran could .best provide (black box, 
recovery of wreckage, manifest, list of deceased, etc.). 
Requests for assistance through diplomatic channels were submit- | 
ted via Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command, to obtain 



this information for inclusion in the report of investigation 
as appropriate. 

8. Enclosures contain information relevant to the investigation, 
but were obtained or prepared after the adjournment of the investi- 
gation hearing. 

9. Certain intelligence statements were prepared utilizing 
documents or sources classified higher than SECRET/NOFORN 
Dissemination. References to those documents are contained in 
C ]. 

10. All times listed in the findings of fact and opinions are 
"Z" time. 

11. During the investigation, the importance of the information 
being presented by way of the USS VINCENNES Large Screen Displays 
(LSD) became apparent. Therefore, an explanation of that 
system's capabilities and limitations is provided here for the 
benefit of the reviewer. 

T.te AEGIS Large Screen Display (LSD) is a part of the AEGIS 
Display System (ADS) and is a primary visual information source 
for the CO, TAO and Force Warfare Commanders. It consists of 
four 42" X 42" flat, vertically mounted, 2-dimensional displays 
which display the tactical picture contained in the C&D computers. 
This information is displayed as Navy Tactical Display System 
(NTDS) symbology with appropriate velocity leaders. The range 
scales can be varied from [ ] nautical miles. Geographic outline 
maps as well as operator selectable line segments, points, 
circles and ellipses can also be displayed. These latter items 
can be used to construct operational areas, geographic features, 
range rings, air lanes, etc. The display operator can also 
attach a 24 character alphanumeric label (or "tag") to any 
track or point. Therefore, the track classification, ID, 
position relative other tracks, range, bearing, course and speeds 
as well as position relative to geographic features or air 
lanes, etc., can be displayed. However, it is important to 
note, that altitude cannot be displayed on the LSD in real-time. 

12. TN 4133, which lifted off from Bandar Abbas shortly after 
TN 4131, is used as the identifier for an Iranian [ ]. 

13. A glossary of abbreviations used throughout the report has 
been compiled and is attached at the end of the transcript of 
the proceedings. 

14. The Report of Investigation is formatted to give the 
reviewer a general overview of the events surrounding the 
incident in the Executive Summary. The Findings of Fact are 
arranged with background on the intelligence and operational 
picture in the Persian Gulf to. provide th^ reviewer with 
essentially the same data which was available to CJTFME and the 



3 



USS VINCENNES on 3 July 1988, Environmental factors, commercial 
air information, data on Iran Air Flight 655, and relevant 
portions of the Peacetime Rules of Engagement (ROE) are then 
treated as discrete blocks of information before addressing the 
USS VINCENNES training and readiness, watch organization, overall 
combat system status, communications, and combat systems 
doctrine. With the foundation thus laid, the actual events of 3 
July 1988 which led to the downing of TN 4131 are examined 
beginning with the surface engagement which formed an integral 
part of the decision process of the Commanding Officer, USS 
VINCENNES. The USS VINCENNES data recordings have enabled the 
investigation to break the critical time period, which comprised 
the air engagement, into a minutes and seconds sequence of 
specific actions as they occurred along a timeline. Finally, 
post-incident search and rescue efforts, and after action reports 
are addressed. Opinions and Recommendations conclude this 
report • 

II. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 

A. INTRODUCTION. 

1. On 3 July 1988, the USS VINCENNES (CG 49), operating in 
the Southern Persian Gulf as a unit assigned to Commander, 
Joint Task Force Middle East, downed a civilian airliner, Iran 
Air Flight 655 on a routine scheduled flight from Bandar Abbas 
to Dubai, with two SM~2 missiles. 

2. The material condition, combat systems, training and 
personnel readiness of the ship were satisfactory. 

3. The following narrative summarizes the events leading up 
to and including the downing of Iran Air Flight 65 5. It is in 
the form of a chronology because the situation leading up to, 
just prior to, and during the few critical minutes from Iran 
Air Flight 655 takeoff to downing are considered important to 

a full understanding of the incident. All times in the report 
are "Z" time. 

B. PRE ■ 3 JULY SCENARIO. 

1. In the three day period prior to the incident, there 
was heightened air and naval activity in the Persian Gulf. Iraq 
conducted air strikes against Iranian oil facilities and shipping 
30 June through 2 July 1988. Iranian response was to step up 
ship attacks • Additionally, Iran deployed F-14 ' s from Bushehr to 
Bandar Abbas. U.S. Forces in the Persian Gulf were alerted to 
the probability of significant Iranian military activity resulting 
from Iranian retaliation for recent Iraqi military successes. 
That period covered the fourth of July holiday weekend. 

2. During the afternoon and* evening hqurs of 2 July 1988 



4 



and continuing into the morning of 3 July 1988, Iranian Revolu- 
tionary Guard Corps (IRGC) armed small boats (Boghammers, and Boston 
Whalers) positioned themselves at the western approach to the 
Strait of Hormuz (SOH). From this position, they were challenging 
merchant vessels, which has been a precursor to merchant ship 
attacks. On 2 July 1988, USS ELMER MONTGOMERY was located suffi- 
ciently close to a ship attack in progress as to respond to a 
request for distress assistance and to fire warning shots to ward 
off IRGC small boats attacking a merchant vessel. 

C. 3 JULY SURFACE ENGAGEMENT 

1. On the morning of 3 July 1988, USS ELMER MONTGOMERY was 
on patrol in the northern portion of the Strait of Hormuz. At approxi 
mately 0330Z, USS MONTGOMERY observed seven small Iranian gunboats 
approaching a Pakistani merchant vessel. The small boats were 
reported by USS MONTGOMERY to have manned machine gun mounts and 
rocket launchers. 

Shortly thereafter, USS MONTGOMERY observed a total of 13 Iranian 
gun boats breaking up into three groups. Each group contained 3 
to 4 gun boats with one group of four gun boats taking position 
off USS MONTGOMERY'S port quarter. At 0411Z, USS MONTGOMERY 
heard the gun boats over bridge to bridge challenging merchant 
Ships in the area. USS MONTGOMERY then heard 5 to 7 explosions 
coming from the north. At 041 2Z, "Golf Sierra" directed USS 
VINCENNES to proceed north to the vicinity of USS MONTGOMERY and 
investigate USS MONTGOMERY'S report of small boats preparing to 
attack a merchant ship. USS VINCENNES ' s helo (OCEAN LORD 25/ 
Lamps MK-III helo) on routine morning patrol, was vectored north 
to observe the Iranian small boat activity. USS VINCENNES was 
also monitoring a routine maritime patrol of an Iranian P-3 
operating to the west. At approximately 0615Z, the USS VINCENNES ' s 
helicopter was fired upon by one of the small boats. USS VINCENNES 
then took tactical command of USS MONTGOMERY and both ships 
proceeded to close the position of the helicopter and the small 
boats at high speed. As USS VINCENNES and USS MONTGOMERY approached 
the position of the small boats, two of them were observed to 
turn towards USS VINCENNES and USS MONTGOMERY. The closing 
action was interpreted as a demonstration of hostile intent. USS 
VINCENNES then requested and was given permission by CJTFME to 
engage the small boats with gunfire. At approximately 0643 Z, USS 
VINCENNES opened fire and was actively involved in the surface 
engagement from the time Iranian Air Flight 655 took off from 
Bandar Abbas through the downing of Iran Air Flight 655. 

2 . During the course of the gun engagement of the Iranian 
small boats, the USS VINCENNES, at approximately 0654Z, had 
maneuvered into a position one mile west of the centerline of 
civilian airway Amber 59. The USS SIDES., transiting from east to 
west through the SOH, was approximately 18 miles to the east and 
became involved in the evolving tactical situation. 



5 



D. BANDAR ABBAS/lRAN AIR FLIGHT 655/AIR ENGAGEMENT 



1. On 3 July 1988, at approximately 0647Z, an Iran Air 
Airbus 300, Iran Air Flight 655, took off from the Bandar Abbas 
joint military/ civilian airport destined for Dubai airport • 
The flight was a routine scheduled, international flight via 
commercial airway Amber 59. 

2. C ] 

3. An Iranian [ ] took off approximately 7 minutes 
after Iran Air Flight 655, and a number of Iranian F-4s were 
observed to be operating in the area of Bandar Abbas approximately 
30 minutes after the incident. 

4. Iran Air Flight 655 took off on runway 21 (heading 210 
degrees true), was directed by the Bandar Abbas Tower to squawk 
IFF mode III code 6760, and began a normal climb out to assigned 
altitude of 14,000 feet for the flight, which lasted a total of 7 
minutes before the plane was hit by the missiles from USS VINCENNES. 
The pilot remained within the Amber 59 air corridor (20 miles 
wide, 10 miles each side of centerline), made a routine position 
report to Bandar Abbas departure control at approximately 0654Z, 
and was ascending through 12,000 feet at a speed of approximately 
380 kts at the time of making his report. 

5. At approximately 0654Z, the missiles fired from USS 
VINCENNES impacted. the aircraft at an altitude of 13,500 feet, 
approximately 8 miles from USS VINCENNES, with Iran Air Flight 
655 still in its assigned air corridor. Debris from the aircraft 
and a significant number of bodies were found 6.5 miles east of 
Hengham Island at 26-37 . 75 * N/56-01 ' E . While no passenger manifest 
nor list of deceased has been released by Iran, various sources 
have established that some 290 persons from six nations, were on 
board Iran Air Flight 655. 

6. VINCENNES - - CRITICAL DECISION WINDOW 

(a) At approximately 064 7 Z - Iran Air Flight 655 was 
detected by the USS VINCENNES ' s AN/SPY-IA radar bearing 025 
degrees, 47NM, and was assigned TN 4131. At approximately 0648Z, 
USS SIDES detected Iran Air Flight 655, bearing approximately 355 
degrees, range approximately 32 miles. The aircraft continued to 
close USS VINCENNES with a constant bearing, decreasing range. 
At approximately 0649Z, USS VINCENNES issued warnings on Military 
Air Distress (MAD) (243.0mhz) and at 0650Z began warnings on 
International Air Distress (IAD) (121.5mhz) to TN 4131 located 
025 degrees, 40NM from USS VINCENNES. 

(b) At approximately 0650Z - Several USS VINCENNES CIC 
personnel heard, on internal Combat Information Center (CIC) 
voice circuits, a report of F-14' activity . . A momentary 



6 



Mode II-IIOO IFF indication was detected which was correlated 
with an Iranian F-14. This was reported throughout CIC over 
internal CIC voice circuits. Continuous MAD and IAD warnings 
were ordered at 30NM (5 total warnings on MAD and 4 total warnings 
on IAD). USS VINCENNES continued the surface engagement and 
experienced a foul bore in Mount 51. In order to unmask the 
after gun mount, full rudder (at 30 knots) was applied. This 
added to the increasing tension in CIC. 

(c) At approximately 0651Z - As TN 4131 closed to 28NM, 
USS VINCENNES informed CJTFME that she had a closing Iranian F-14 
which she intended to engage at 20 NM unless it turned away. USS 
VINCENNES requested concurrence. CJTFME concurred but told USS 
VINCENNES to warn the aircraft before firing. Warnings continued, 
but no response from TN 4131 was received, nor did it turn away. 

(d) At approximately 0652Z - Warnings continued over both 
IAD and MAD. Still no response- Although TN 4131 reached the 20 
NM point, the CO decided not to engage. The order was given to 
illuminate the contact with fire control radar. There were no ESM 
indications. TN 4131 was ascending through 10,000 feet. 

(e) At approximately 0653Z - At 15-16NM, the last warning 
over IAD was given by USS SIDES to the aircraft bearing 204 
degrees to USS VINCENNES, range 15.5 miles. During the last 30 
seconds of this minute, the CO made his decision to engage TN 4131. 

(f) At approximately 06:54, the CO turned the firing 
key. Two SM-2 Blk II missiles left the rails. They intercepted 
Iran Air Flight 655 at a range of 8NM from USS VINCENNES at an 
altitude of 13,500 feet. 

E. POST INCIDENT INVESTIGATION 

1. The focus of this investigation was on the key factors 
that figured in determination of what information was available 
to the Commanding Officer upon which to base his decision to 
engage TN 4131, the validity of that data, and what other factors 
entered into his decision making process. Essential to this 
determination was a detailed examination of the USS VINCENNES 's 
data reduction tapes, which portray second-by-second the position, 
kinematics, IFF information and Link eleven (11) message flow of 
all contacts held by the USS VINCENNES ' s AEGIS Weapon System. 
Immediately following the incident, USS VINCENNES *s AEGIS data 
recording tapes were transported to the Naval Surface Warfare 
Center, Dahlgren, Virginia, for data extraction and evaluation. 
The data extracted depicted the Iran Air Flight 655 flight profile 
from first detection to missile intercept. Further, the data 
allow reconstruction of all "button actions" by Command and 
Decision (C&D) console operators in CIC_and the information 
available to them on their console readouts. Crucial to the 
investigation became close examination' of the approximately 3 
minute 45 second period just prior to the Commanding Officer's 



7 



final decision to fire. During this period, verbal reports were 
being made by one of the console operators over internal circuits 
of decreasing range and altitude. Additionally, the fact that the 
range of TN 4131 in this period was rapidly approaching the final 
weapons release point for the incoming aircraft factors into the 
decision to fire. Also, crucial to the investigation was the 
explanation (where possible) of the divergence between the data 
available in the AEGIS system derived from the data reduction 
tapes and the reports received by the CO and "GW" (the CO*s 
principal air war advisor), especially the reports of "F-14", 
IFF", and "decreasing altitude". 

2. The data from USS VINCENNES ' s tapes, information from USS 
SIDES and reliable intelligence information, corroborate the fact 
that TN 4131 was on a normal commercial air flight plan profile, 
in the assigned airway, squawking Mode III 6760, on a continuous 
ascent in altitude from takeoff at Bandar Abbas to shoot down. 

III. FINDINGS OF FACT 

A. SETTING THE STAGE 

1 . Intelligence Background , 
a. The Gulf War 

(1) The war between Iran and Iraq is the latest 
iteration of a conflict dating back a thousand years. 

(2) Although Iraq used it's superior Air Force to 
target Iranian oil installations around the head of the Gulf and 
Kharg Island early in the war, the purchase of EXOCET missiles 
from France in 1983 provided Iraq with a credible ship attack 
capability. Anti-shipping strikes commenced in 1984. 

(3) Iraq's intent on conducting anti-shipping attacks 
was to put economic pressure on Iran by seeking to limit Iran's 
oil revenue and to bring an end to the larger ground war. Iran 
responded in kind by striking tankers in 1984 to prevent war 
supplies from reaching Iraq. 

(4) Since the start of the Gulf War, as a subset of 
the larger Iran/Iraq War, there has been history of violence in 
the Persian Gulf. 

(5) The Gulf War intensified in 1987 when Iraq used 
its Air Force to conduct an aggressive campaign against Iranian 
oil facilities and shipping. The campaign was centered in the 
Central Persian Gulf (CPG) and intensified in May 1987. These 
expanded operations culminated in the 17- May 1987 erroneous 
attack on USS STARK. 



8 



(6) The United States commenced escorting Kuwaiti 
ref lagged tankers in 1987. 

(7) C ] 

(8) In addition to its strikes against neutral 
shipping by aircraft, Iran conducted ship attacks with surface 
ships and small boats. Additionally, Iran also placed mine fields 
across the Persian Gulf and in the Gulf of Oman in an effort to 
sink US warships and stop convoy operations. These mine fields 
resulted in severe damage to both BRIDGETON in July 1987 and USS 
SAMUEL B. ROBERTS in April 1988. 

(9) Attacks against shipping in the latter part of 
1987 and the first part of 1988 marked the most intensive anti- 
shipping operations by Iran during the war. The predominant 
Iranian attack platforms during this period were small boats 
employing 107mm rocket launchers, rocket propelled grenades, and 
small arms. Because of the use of various conventional and 
unconventional tactics, Iranian intentions in the Gulf were 
suspect at all times. 

(10) Anti-shipping warfare profiles show that Iran 
conducted 88 ship attacks in 1987. 72% of these occurred in the 
shipping routes between Abu Musa Island and the UAE. From November 
1987 to April 1988, all ship attacks were conducted in the southern 
Persian Gulf (SPG). During 1987, 50% of the attacks were conducted 
at night. 

(11) Iran also fired Silkworm missiles at Kuwait, 
damaging 1 U.S. flag vessel (Sea Isle City) and another merchant 
tanker. In October 1987 the United States responded by an attack 
on the Iranian owned Rostara Oil Platform. 

(12) C ] additional Silkworm sites were constructed 
in the Strait of Hormuz area which threatened seaborne traffic 
through that choke point. 

b. Iranian Air Reaction to the U.S. retaliation April 1988 
(Operation PRAYING MANTIS). 

(1) In retaliation for the mining of USS SAMUEL B. 
ROBERTS, the United States attacked the Iranian Sirri and Sasson 
offshore oil production facilities in the SPG on 18 April 1988. 
In response to the U.S. operation, Iranian aircraft and warships 
deployed from Bandar Abbas to join Iranian Revolutionary Guard 
Corps (IRGC) small boats from Abu Musa Island and Qeshm Island in 
attacks on U.S. owned or associated oil rigs, platforms and 
jack-up rigs. During the engagement with U.S. forces, two Iranian 
frigates and one missile patrol boat were sunk or severely damaged. 
P-4s scrambled during the day from Bandar Abbas. USS WAIN- 
WRIGHT launched missiles at one of the aircraft, damaging it when 
the aircraft failed to respond to repeated warnings and continued 



9 



to close the ship. 



(2) The preponderance of the action between U.S. and 
Iranian forces on 18 April 1988 durinjv Operation PRAYING MANTIS 
occurred in the same area where the 3 July 1988 incident with USS 
VINCENNES took place. 

c- Iranian Aircraft Attacks on Shipping 

(1) The Iranian Air Force an.x Iranian warships have 
conducted a total of 187 attacks on shipping since the campaign 
began in March 1984, most of those attacks occurred prior to 
August 1986. Fighter aircraft conducted a majority of these 
attacks using iron bombs and Maverick missiles. In comparison to 
the attacks conducted by the IRGC small boats, the air attacks 
were eunong the most damaging. 

(2) Following August 1986, Iranian fighter aircraft 
were rarely used in the ship attacks in an apparent attempt to 
conserve platforms. 

(3) C ] 

(4) The Iranians have Maverick missiles. Each missile 
can be launched from ranges of . 5 to 13 NM and television guided. 
The launching aircraft must be able to keep visual track of the 
target but does not have to illuminate the target with radar. 

(5) Although there has been no record of F-14s being 
used for iron bomb attacks, the aircraft is capable of being 
modified to be used in that role. To use iron bombs, the F-14 
would have to close to within 2 NM of the target. That information 
was included in the intelligence information provided to USS 
VINCENNES on inchop. 

(6) The most recent, confirmed Iranian Air Force 
anti-shipping attack was on 2 February 1988 when 2 Iranian F-4s 
launched Maverick Missiles at the Liber ian Tanker, PETROBULK 
PILOT, at 30NM SSW of the point where USS VINCENNES launched its 
missiles on 3 July. 

(7) [ ] 

d. Iranian Air Force Operations 3 June-3 July 1988* 

(1) Iranian Air Force operating patterns changed 
significantly, particularly at Bandar Abbas, in the month prior 
to 3 July 1988. 

(2) Iranian F-14 ' s have been, observed to fly at 
airspeeds of between 250 KTS while climbing to patrol station and 
350 - 400 KTs while on patrol. During air to air intercepts the 
F-14's have achieved speeds of 500 - 550 KTS. 



10 



(3) Iranian F-14s were transferred to Bandar Abbas. 

(4) The addition of the F-14s to the air order of 
battle at Bandar Abbas was perceived by CJTFME as a upgrade in 
Iranian air capability at Bandar Abbas. 

(5) USS VINCENNES was advised by CJTFME on 18 June 
1988 of the changing patterns of F-4s operating from Bandar Abbas: 
"All units are cautioned to be on the alert for more aggressive 
behavior [ ] . " 

(6) C ] 

(7) USS VINCENNES was advised of the deployment of 
Iranian F-14's to Bandar Abbas: "The F-14 deployment represents 
an increased threat to allied aircraft operating in SOH, SPG, and 
GOO." 

e. The Iranian Posture 25 June-2 July 

(1) In the week preceding the USS VINCENNES incident, 

the Iraqi Air Force stepped up its attacks on Iranian oil facilities 
and shuttle convoys in the Northern Persian Gulf (NPG). Iranian 
reaction to these successful Iraqi attacks was anticipated by 
CJTFME and they warned the Middle East Force, including USS 
VINCENNES on 2 July 1988. 

(2) USS VINCENNES was apprised of the general Iranian 
situation on 30 June and 1 July, specifically that because Iraq 
had extended its successes in the ground war to the NPG with a 
renewed air campaign against Iranian shipping and oil facilities, 
Iranian reaction should be expected, "...in the meantime, anticipate 
IRGC ship attacks in retaliation for Iraqi Air Force attacks on 
Iranian shuttle tankers." 

(3) C ] 

(4) The F-14 flighm Bandar Abbas during this 
period were: 

C ] June - patrol [ ] 



1 June 


- patrol 


1 June 


- patrol 


1 June 


- patrol 


1 June 


- patrol 


1 June 


- patrol 


1 July 


- patrol 



11 



C ] July - patrol [ ] 



f . Activity on 2 July, 1988 - The Maersk Attack 

(1) (U) At 021600Z the Danish ship, KARAMA MAERSK, 
outbound from Saudi Arabia, was repeatedly, though unsuccessfully, 
attacked by IRGC small boats at a point 20 NM SW of Abu Musa Island. 

(2) The KARAMA MAERSK issued a "MAYDAY" requesting 
assistance and USS ELMER MONTGOMERY responded and observed several 
IRGC small boats fire 3 rockets at the Danish merchant at 1630Z. 
The IRGC boats included at least 1 Boghammer and 2 machine gun 
equipped Boston Whalers. 

(3) The USS MONTGOMERY fired a warning shot at the 
small boats at about 1730Z and the boats retired to the NW. 

2 . Operational Background . 

a. The Administrative and Operational Organization 
Charts for the JTFME are contained in this report as C ] . 

b. RADM Anthony A. Less, USN, was C JTFME and designated 
C ] (the radio call sign for thn Of f icer in Tactical Command) 
on 3 July 1988. He and his staff were embarked in USS CORONADO 
(AFG 11). 

c. Commander Destroyer Squadron 25, was embarked in 

the USS JOHN HANCOCK (DD 981) and was designated [ ] (the radio 
call sign for the Surface Warfare Commander) by CJTFME. 

d. The Commanding Officer USS VINCENNES (CG 49) was 
designated [ ] (the radio call sign for the Anti-Air Warfare 
Commander) by CJTFME. 

e. C ] 

f. C ] 

g. C ] 

h. Key CJTFME personnel in flag plot during the engage- 
ment of the small boats and track 4131 were: 

«. 

(1) RADM LESS - CJTFME 

(2) C ] - Deputy CJTFME 

(3) E 3 - Chief of Staff, CJTFME 

(4) C ] - Assistant Operations 

" Officer/ CJTFME 



12 



(5) C ] - Intelligence Officer, CJTFlME 

i. COMAIR Schedules and routes were not plotted in 
Flag Plot but were available in the Operations Office. 

3 . Rules of Engagement , 
a. General 

(1) The USS VINCENNES had onboard a current copy of 
the effective ROE for the Persian Gulf. 

(2) The primary responsibility of the Commanding 
Officer under the ROE is the defense of his ship from attack 

or from threat of imraenent attack. [Remainder of ROE deleted.] 

4. Environmental Data . 

a. (U) At 030400Z Jul 88, the following environmental 
data existed: 

(1) Wind Speed/Direction: lOKts/340 degrees T 

(2) Sea Temp: 30 degrees C 

(3) Air temp: 28.3 degrees C 

(4) Relative Humidity: 62% 

(5) Evaporation Duct Height: 78.5 ft 

(6) Surface Pressure: 998.0 MB 

(7) Visibility estimate was 8-10 miles 

(8) Ceiling: approximately 200 ft/scattered 

b. Predicated on the environmental data provided from 
USS VINCENNES on 3 July 1988, which is summarized in [ ], Joint 
Electronic Warfare Center (JEWC) San Antonio, Texas, concluded 
the following as regards ducting: 

(1) Atmospheric conditions suggest USS VINCENNES 
was operating with a strong surface based duct (extending up to 
approximately 485 ft) and also within an evaporation duct 
extending up to approximately 78 ft. 

(2) AN/SPY-1 (AEGIS radar), AN/AWG-9 (F-14 radar) 
and AN/UPX-29 (IFF) emitters show coupling with these ducts enhancing 
detection ranges. 



13 



(3) The data provided by NSWC Dahlgren also 
validates that, in fact, SPY radar was ducting, resulting in 
enhanced detection ranges. 

5 . Commercial Air 

a. General 

(1) Bandar Abbas International is a joint military/ 
commercial airfield. 

(2) A total of 18 commercial air routes cross the 
Persian Gulf area covering at least 50% of the navigable waters. 

(3) A total of 12 commercial air routes cross the 
southern Persian Gulf /Strait of Hormuz area alone. Specifically, 
7 into or out of Dubai/ Sharj ah Terminal Control Area and 5 into 
or out of Abu Dhabi Terminal Control Area. 

(4) Comraerical air flights that do not approach Iran 
during any part of the flight or come from non-belligerent air 
space and are at the high altitudes normally flown by air carriers 
are relatively easy to identify. 

(5) The width of the airway assigned to Iranian Air 
FLT 655 (A-59) was: 20NM (lONM either side of Centerline) from 
Bandar Abbas to reporting position DARAX and lONM (5NM either side 
of center line) to Sharjah. Airway A-59 runs from an altitude 

of 4500 feet to infinity. The total length of the air 
route is 123NM. 

(6) At least one thousand seven hundred and seventy- 
five commercial air flights passed through Oman Center for the 
week ending 13 July 1988. 

(7) The only message traffic available to CJTFME on 
civilian airline schedules was the "FICPAC" message of 25 June 
1988. That message was readdressed to all CJTFME units on 28 
June 1988. 

(8) The CJTFME 's inchop brief discusses commercial 
air traffic in general but does not focus on any specific air 
routes or COMAIR schedules. 

(9) CJTFME 's inchop brief discusses the use of MAD 
(Military Air Distress). Moreover ships are told to use IAD 
(International Air Distress) to contact commercial aircraft and 
"unless you are up a regional ATC frequency, use IAD to try to 
contact ATC . " 

(10) The inchop brief alludes to the "very complex 
but ordered" commercial air picture. It cautions all units to be 
concerned with those air contacts which deviate from the normal 
pattern . 

14 



(11) The first time that CJTFME promulgated commercial 
airline flight information to the ships in the Persian Gulf area 
was on 28 June 1988. This message showed IR 655 scheduled to 
depart Baddar Abbas at 0950L (0620Z) on Tuesday and Sunday of 
each week* 

(12) The first documentation of conflict between 
civilian COMAIR and a CJTFME unit was on 8 June 1988 when the USS 
HALYBURTON issued nearly continuous challenges to an aircraft 
landing at Dubai International. British Airway FLT 147 acknowledged 
the challenge, made the turn as directed by the USS HALYBURTON 

and immediately came into a "near miss" situation with another 
civilian aircraft. A formal protest was filed by ATC Dubai and 
an American Embassy letter of apology resulted. 

(13) The only commercial IFF information available to any 
JTFME unit were pass-down items from other Middle East Force 

ships • 

(14) U.S. ships deployed to the Persian Gulf area 
are [ ] VHF [ ] tuned to International Air Distress (IAD) 
frequency 121.5 Mhz. C ] 

(15) During USS VINCENNES inchop brief conducted on 
22 May, CJTFME/Air Ops and CJTFME/Asst Air Ops briefed the 

Helo Det on helo ops but did not specifically discuss commercial 
air routes or schedules. 

(16) On Sunday, 3 July 1988, there were 10 civilian 
flights scheduled from Bandar Abbas. They were: 



FLT # 


TO 


DEPT TIME 


ACFT TYPE 


IR 655 


DUBAI 


0959L 


AIRBUS 300 


IR 236 


BANDARLENGEH 


1240L 


737 


IR 236 


SHIRAZ 


1240L 


737 


IR 236 


TEHRAN 


1240L 


737 


IR 452 


TEHRAN 


1340L 


AIRBUS 300 


IR 394 


ISFAHAN 


1400L 


737 


IR 394 


TEHRAN 


1400L 


737 


IR 134 


SHIRAZ 


2050L 


737 


IR 134 


TEHRAN 


2050L 


737 


IR 458 


TEHRAN 


2245L 


AIRBUS 300 



There is no information to the contrary that the remaining 
flights did not launch. 

(17) As a result of the attack of the USS STARK, the 
JCS issued an up-dated Notice to Airman (NOTAM) for the Persian 
Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman and North Arabian Sea dated 
8 September 1987, which notified all Persian Gulf countries of 
additional defense precautions which U.S. warships would be 
exercising. It highlighted the requiremeril; for aircraft operating 
in the area to maintain a listening watch on 121.5 mhz VHF or 



15 



234.0 mhz UHF. Both Department of State and ICAO report that 
this NOT AM was transmitted through channels to the Government of 
Iran. 

(18) The current verbal warnings issued by CJTFME 
units do not clearly identify exactly which aircraft the ship is 
attempting to contact. 

(19) Commercial aircraft normally do not have radar 
homing and warning (RHAW) equipment. U.S. Navy ships either 
"locking up" with pulsed fire control or continuous wave radars 
expect no reaction from a commerical air flight. 

(20) For the period of 2 June 1988 to 2 July 
1988, analysis of challenges and warnings conducted by CJTFME 
resulted in the following statistics: 

(a) 150 challenges were issued 

(b) only two were to COMAIR (1-3%) 

(c) 125 were t>c Iranian military aircraft 
(83%) 

(d) Largest number of challenges issued were 
by the USS SPRUANCE patrolling the eastern entrance of the SOH. 

(21) No Iranian F-14 ' s were challenged during the 2 - 
17 June 1988 timeframe but seven were challenged in the 13 June - 

2 July 1988 time period. 

(22) Commercial air carriers have been observed 
changing IFF modes and codes when crossing the Persian Gulf area. 

(23) Iranian military aircraft have been observed 
squawking all IFF (I, II, and III) modes and codes and at times 
follow commercial air routes within the Persian Gulf. 

(24) Iraqi military aircraft have followed the air 
routes from Iraq during Persian Gulf shipping attack profile (SAP) 
missions and return using the same air routes. 

(25) Iran Air Flight 655 was a regularly scheduled 
biweekly flight from Bandar Abbas to Sharjah, often referred to 
as a "HAJ" flight by ships' crews. 

(26) CJTFME and CO USS VINCENNES discussed the complex 
ity of the commercial air picture on several occasions prior to 

3 July 1988. 

(27) Airbus' normally climb at 350 - 370 KTS and 
cruise at 450 - 460 KTS. 

b. Iran Air Flight 655 



16 



(1) Iran Air Flight 655 Airbus, A-300B2-202, was 
delivered by the French Airbus Industrie on 30 April 1982 
configured with a standard civilian type Dual Collins 621-A6 IFF. 
The General Electric engines are identified as GE CF6-50C2. 
Airbus Industrie has never delivered an Airbus equipped with an 
IFF radar Mode II, 

(2) Bandar Abbas International is the only active, 
joint use (military/civilian) Iranian airport in the southern 
Persian Gulf area. 

(3) Iran Air Flight 655 was scheduled to depart 
Bandar Abbas at 0950 (L) or 0620Z but actually took of at 1017 (L) 
or 0647Z, 

(4) C ] 

(5) The control tower at Bandar Abbas failed to warn 
Iran Air Flight 655 that there was an ongoing naval engagement 
between U.S. Naval Forces and Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval 
forces (IRGN). 

(6) Iran Air Flight 655, on direction of the 
control tower at Bandar Abbas International, turned on its IFF 
Mode III to 6760 on deck prior to launch and the mode was read 
correctly by the tower as 6760. 

(7) Iran Air Flight 655 took off from Bandar Abbas 
International Airfield on runway 21 at 0647Z. It was cleared to 
Dubai via A-59 at FL 140 (14,000FT) with an assigned IFF Mode III 
squawk of 6760. The pilot reported passing MOBET (position 
report) at 0654Z and vacating FL 120 (12,000 feet). 

(8) Iran Air Flight 655 squawked Mode III-6760 from 
take off to missile intercept. 

(9) IR 655 was 3 . 35NM west of the centerline of air 
route A-59 at missile intercept, time 06:54 passing 13,500 climbing 
to an assigned altitude of FL 140 (14,000 ft) on course of 209. 5T, 
at 383 KTS. 

(10) Air Traffic Control Center at Abu Dhabi neither 
gained radar video nor established communications with Iran Air 
Flight 655. 

6. USS VINCENNES 

a. Training and Readiness. 

(1) USS VINCENNES deployed^ 25 April 1988, on short 
notice, to the Persian Gulf /Middle East Force. 



17 



(2) USS VINCENNES was directed on 20 April 1988 to 
detach from FLEETEX 88-2 for immediate return to homeport and a 
21 April 1988 deployment to the Persian Gulf /Middle East Force. 
USS VINCENNES transit was to be directly from San Diego to Subic 
Bay and onward to Middle East Force with an arrival date in the 
Persian Gulf of 16 May 1988. 

(3) Upon notice of deployment on 20 April 1988, 
USS VINCENNES was in the highest state of training and readiness: 
CI in Personnel, Supply, Equipment and Training; Ml in AAW, AMW, 
ASW, ASUW, C3, EW, and training areas. 

(4) Prior to deployment on 25 April 1988, USS 
VINCENNES participated in interim refresher training (26 Oct - 
6 Nov 1877), FLEETEX 88-l/COMPUTEX 88-3 (1-12 Feb 88) and a 
portion of FLEETEX 88-2 (8-19 Apr 88). On completion of interim 
refresher training, USS VINCENNES was found to be fully capable 
of performing duties as AAWC or LAAWC in Battle Group operations . 

(5) During FLEETEX 88-1, USS VINCENNES participated 
in a Middle East Force Exercise (MEFEX) 5-8 Feb 88. This exercise 
simulated an "EARNEST WILL" escort mission, and provided: anti- 
Silkworm training, terrorist aircraft training, terrorist small 
boat defense, and anti-swimmer defense. 

(6) USS VINCENNES did not complete FLEETEX 88-2 due 
to her early deployment; however, USS VINCENNES participated in 
the following training evolutions during FLEETEX 88-2: extensive 
war-at-sea strike exercises (WASEX) ; Silkworm missile attacks; 
training in ROE; and fast patrol boat attack simulations. 

(7) A normal MEF augmenter pre-deployment schedule 
would have included in addition to the exercises listed in Finding 
of Facts A. 6. a. (4) and (5), two Middle East Force Exercises 
(MEFEXs) at PMTC, PT Mugu, California, and PMRF Barking Sands, 
Hawaii. USS VINCENNES did not conduct these exercises because of 
her early deployment and accelerated transit to Subic Bay, RP. 

(8) USS VINCENNES was provided AEGIS Training Center 
Briefs on lessons learned on the operation of SPY-IA radar in the 
Strait of Hormuz/Persian Gulf by AEGIS Training Center, Dahlgren, 
VA, while inport Subic Bay, RP, on 11 May 1988. 

(9) During a four day period (9-12 May), USS 
VINCENNES conducted the following Middle East Force training in 
the Subic Bay operating areas: two missile firings (both 
successful), one war-at-sea strike exercise, CIWS tracking/ firing. 
Silkworm profiles, air intercept controlling, anti-fast patrol 
boat exercises (night and day), surface gunnery, and surface to 
air gunnery. 

(10) The WASEX conducted oh ,9 May 1988 included 
attacking aircraft. A post exercise critique was conducted on 10 



18 



May with USAF, USMC, and USS VINCENNES personnel present. USS 
VINCENNES Large Screen Display (LSD) information was used to 
reconstruct the events of the exercise. This reconstruction 
revealed USS VINCENNES had to discriminate threat aircraft from 
numerous other air contacts in the area including USAF AIR-AIR 
missile participants and normal air traffic in the vicinity of 
Clark AFB and Crow Valley, RP. 

(11) Prior to arrival Subic Bay, RP, USS 
VINCENNES modified her Battle Organization to conform to the 
expected "GW" assignment in the Middle East Force. In a meeting 
with the CO, XO, CSO and OPSO in attendance, the CO decided that 
CSO and OPS officer would stand watch as "GW", operating from the 
embarked commander's console (LSD #2). 

(12) C ] 

(13) USS VINCENNES reported this Battle Organization 
modification was implemented during the transit from San Diego to 
Subic Bay, RP, and exercised during MEF training periods in Subic 
Bay, RP operating areas (9-12 May 1988) and during the JTFME CVBG 
familiarization training (21-24 may 88). 

(14) Three rules of Engagement Exercises (ROEX) were 
conducted by USS VINCENNES during the period 6-20 May 88. These 
exercises tested USS VINCENNES ' s interpretation and correct 
response to current ROE for the Persian Gulf /Middle East Force. 

(15) USS VINCENNES chopped to CJTFME on 20 May 1988 
and was CI in areas of Personnel, Supply, Equipment and Training 
as well as being Ml in AAW, AMW, ASUW, ASW, CCC, ELW and MOB. 

(16) USS VINCENNES CO, TAO and GW stated in their 
testimony that USS VINCENNES was well prepared for their assignment 
to the Middle East Force by virtue of their AW (in workup exercises), 
"GW" experience, and in depth MEF augmenter training. 

(17) USS VINCENNES conducted Battle Group 
familiarization training with the CVBG assigned t)C JTFME in the 
Gulf of Oman (21-24 May 88) prior to entering the Persian Gulf. 
Exercises conducted provided training in; WASEX, Silkworm 
profiles, SUCAP coordination and a/C training. 

(18) Summary of USS VINCENNES Operations since 
arriving in the Middle East Force: 



19 



27 


- 27 


May 


88 


Task Group Exercise 




29 


May 


88 


Sitrah anchorage inchop briefing 




30 


May 


88 


Sit rah anchorage AWACS/LINK 
interoperability 


01 


- 08 


Jun 


88 


C ] patrol 


10 


- 11 


Jun 


88 


Sitrah anchorage for upkeep 


12 


- 16 


Jun 


88 


C ] patrol/ conducting AAW and ASUW 
surveillance 




17 


Jun 


88 


C ] patrol, conducting AAW surveillance 




18 


Jun 


88 


Sitrah anchorage for upkeep 


19 


- 20 


Jun 


88 


[ ] patrol, conducting AAW surveillance 


21 


- 29 


Jun 


88 


C ] AAW surveillance and escort 
operations 




30 


Jun 


88 


OPS outside Straits 




01 


Jul 


88 


CPG (E) C 3/SOH/FUJAIRAH 




02 


Jul 


88 


FUJAIRAH/SOH/C ], AAW and ASUW 
surveillance 




03 


Jul 


88 


CPG (E) C ], AAW and ASUW surveillance 



(19) USS VINCENNES had not experienced combat prior 
to 3 July 1988. 

b. Watch Organization 

(1) USS VINCENNES' Battle Doctrine (VINCENNES INST 
C3510.1) was signed by CAPT [ ], USN, the Conunanding Officer 
USS VINCENNES just prior to CAPT Rogers, on 1 May 85. This 
document has subsequently been used as a baseline for Pacific 
Fleet AEGIS cruisers. 

(2) CO USS VINCENNES Standing, Steaming and Battle 
Orders were signed on 9 Jan 1988 by CAPT Rogers as a modification 
and sub-doctrine to USS VINCENNES Battle Doctrine. 

(3) USS VINCENNES' watch organization during pre- 
deployment training was in accordance with CO's Battle Doctrine 
and Standing Orders. 



20 



(4) The CO modified basic Battle Doctrine for PG Ops 
by placing the SITREP officer at OSDA #1 and International Air 
Distress (IAD) operator at LSD #1. He also placed the data 
recorder (CICO) directly behind LSD #2 and #3 to maintain timeline 
of events. The CICO was in view of all large screens and could 
see "GWs" CRO. 

(5) On 3 Jul 88, USS VINCENNES primary AAW watch 
organization was as follows: 

CO 

XO 

TAO 

OSDA 

GW/FAAWC 

CIC OFFICER 

IAD TALKER 

CSC 

TIC 

IDS 

SLQ-32 

EWS 

MSS 

RCS 

ARC 

AAWC 

ACS . 

(6) USS VINCENNES' enlisted general quarters CIC 
watchstanders for 3 JUL 1988 were PQS qualified for watches held 
that day. 

(7) The Commanding Officer USS VINCENNES certified 
all officer watchstanders as qualified; however [ ] had not 
completed PQS for AAWC (his 3 July 1988 GQ station). 

(8) The Commanding Officer USS VINCENNES stated his 
confidence level before and subsequent to the incident in t ] 
and C ] was the highest it could be. He also stated he 
had great faith in his "GW" organization and his CIC team's 
experience. 

c. Overall Combat System Status 

(1) USS VINCENNES' Preventive Maintenance System 
(PMS), which covers the AEGIS combat system, was recorded properly 
and showed no significant discrepancies. 

(2) The AEGIS combat system- was working exceptionally 
well on 3 July. No anomalies were noted in data analysis or from 
operator statements . . 



21 



(3) Serai-annual check for the OE120 IFF Phased Array 
Antenna was last completed in February 1988 with its next scheduled 
check to be completed on 12 July 1988, 

(4) Upon the completion of the OE120 July Semi-Annual 
PMS check of the OE120 IFF antenna, the following discrepancies 
were noted: Phase Shifter #13 had no power out; #12 was 1.0 db 
below PMS Spec; one Phase Shifter was within spec. The OE 120 
has a total of 16 phase shifters. 

(5) C ]. 



(6) The CASREP summary for USS VINGENNES shows no 
significant degradations of AEGIS Combat System as of the 8 
o'clock reports for 2 July 1988, with the exception of CIWS 
(close in weapons system) Mount 22* The data from NWSC Dahlgren 
substantiates the excellent performance of the system. 

(7) The SPY-lA signal processor alignment was completed 
during the last week of April 1988 and the first week of May 

1988. Operational Performance Tests (OPTS) were run weekly with 
no significant degradation. The system had been operational 
almost non-stop since arrival in Gulf. Its performance was 
exceptional. 

(8) One of the consoles in CIC(AIC) was down. 

(9) At the time of the incident. Mount 22 (CIWS) was 
down and Mount 21 was in "AAW AUTO" mode with "hold fire" on. 



d. Communications 



(1) C ] 

(2) USS VINCENNES's primary radio telephone talker 
for C ] was the FAAWC "GW". He was directly responsible 
for relaying both the surface and air tactical picture, as seen 
on USS VINCENNES, along with the force air picture, as seen on 
USS SIDES and USS ELMER MONTGOMERY, to "GB" . 



(3) USS VINCENNES internal net 15 is designated for 
warfare coordinators only, i.e. CO, TAO, OOD, SSWC, CSC, TIC. 

(4) On 3 July 1988, the following CIC operators were 
using net 15 or 16 in addition to warfare coordinators: FWC, IDS, 
EWS, RSC, SITREP Officer at ECDA, EWCO and various other stations 
that had "punched" into the net. 

(5) Internal communications had to be shifted between 
net 15 and 16 due to degradation of the -CKT during the 3 July 1988 
events . 



22 



(6) Internal net 15/16 was heavily used and difficult 
to get information across. 



(7) Internal communications procedures, i.e. 
specific call ups in accordance with standard procedures, were 
known by operators but not always used. 

e. Combat Systems Doctrine 
C ] 



B. EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE AIR ENGAGEMENT 
1. Ancillary Air Data 

a. At 0330Z 3 July 1988 the disposition of the non- 
participant ships, both U.S. and Allied, was as follows: 

(1) USS JOHN HANCOCK was at SITRAH anchorage in 
Manama , Bahr a in . 

(2) USS HALSEY was in the Northern Persian Gulf, HPS. 

(3) USS O'BRIEN was off Kuwait waiting to begin the 
outbound transit of Sea Isle City and M/V Patriot. 

(4) USS FAHRION was inport Ras al Khaimah for a 
routine port visit. 

(5) USS CORONADO was pier side, Mina Sulman at 
Manama, Bahrain with CJTFME embarked. 

(6) HMS MANCHESTER was 150 NM from the incident, 
outside the SOH. HMS BEAVER and the Italian warship ESPERO were . 
in the Southern SOH, approximately 75 NM from the incident. 

(7) CJTFME requested all three Allied ships to provide 
any information relative to TN 4131 and whether they had heard 
the warnings on IAD. HMS BEAVER responded by delivering its 
recordings and transcripts of the USS VINCENNES IAD warnings to 
the Senior Investigating Officer. HMS MANCHESTER indicated that 
it did not hear the warnings over IAD. Information received from 
the Italian Naval Headquarters indicated that the ESPERO did not 
hear the IAD warnings. 

b. At 061 OZ the three principle U.S. Navy warships 
involved in Iran Air Flight 655 incident were: 

(1) USS VINCENNES (CG 49), located at 26-26 N 056-02E. 

(2) USS ELMER MONTGOMERY ( FF 1082), located 
approximately 5 NM from USS VINCENNES. 



23 



(3) USS SIDES (FFG 14), located approximately 18 NM 
NE of USS VINCENNES. 

c. The USS FORRESTAL was on routine patrol in the Northern 
GOO area. 

d- The USS FORRESTAL called away and launched F-14 AND E- 



2C at 0647Z. 

e. C ] 

f. C ] 

g. C ] 

h. C ] 



i. Although the Northern AWACS was airborne, it provided 
no link information because the Northern AWAC's radar is unable 
to provide coverage of the entire Persian Gulf area. 

2 • Surface Engagement 

a. At approximately 0330Z, USS MONTGOMERY observed 
seven small Iranian gunboats approaching a Pakistani merchant 
vessel. USS MONTGOMERY reported at 0333Z that small boats had 
manned machine gun mounts and rocket launchers. 

b. Shortly thereafter USS MONTGOMERY observed a 
total of 13 Iranian gunboats breaking into three groups. Each 
group contained 3 to 4 gunboats with one group of four gunboats 
taking position off USS MONTGOMERY'S port quarter. 

c. C ] 

d. At 041 IZ USS MONTGOMERY heard, over bridge to bridge, 
the gunboats questioning merchants in the area, and at approximately 
the same time heard 5 to 7 explosions coming from the north. 

e. No merchant vessels requested assistance and by 
direction of "GS" , at approximately 0411Z, USS MONTGOMERY 
proceeded to the southern section of C ] • 

f. At 0412Z, "GS" directed USS VINCENNES to proceed 
north to the vicinity of USS MONTGOMERY and to investigate USS 
MONTGOMERY'S report of small boats preparing to attack a merchant. 
USS VINCENNES 's helo OCEAN LORD 25 (Lamps MK-III) on routine 
morning patrol was vectored to the north to monitor the Iranian 
small boat activity in preparation for USS SIDES transit. 

g. C "] 



24 



h. At 061 5Z OCEAN LORD 25 reported being fired on by 
one group of small boats (TN 4667). 



i. C ], OCEAN LORD 25 crew observed 

several small flashes and puffs of smoke approximately 100 yards 
from the helo. 

j. At the time of firing, OCEAN LORD 25 was 8-10 miles 
to the north of USS MONTGOMERY. 

k. Bridge personnel on USS MONTGOMERY reported hearing 
five detonations to the north just prior, to USS VXNCENNES ' s 
report of the firing on OCEAN LORD 25. 

1. At 0613Z USS VXNCENNES sounded General Quarters and 
proceeded north at high speed in the general direction of where 
OCEAN LORD 25 had been fired upon by the small boats. 

m. Before returning to USS VINCENNES at high speed, 
OCEAN LORD 25 was able to identify the group of small boats that 
fired at it and identify the group to USS VINCENNES. 

n. At approximately 061 8Z, USS VINCENNES observed two 
groups of small boats 7 to 8 miles away. 

o. The two groups of small boats then closed to 
approximately 4 miles off USS VINCENNES ' s starboard bow. 

p. At 0620Z USS VINCENNES was directed by "GS" to take 
tactical control of USS MONTGOMERY. USS VINCENNES assumed tactical 
control and positioned MONTGOMERY 8,000 years off her port quarter. 

q- At 0639Z USS VINCENNES requested permission by "GS" 
and "GB" to engage the small boats (TN 4667) with 5"/54 guns. 

r. At 0639Z "GB" requested USS VINCENNES to verify 
the small boats were not departing. USS VINCENNES reported the 
boats were closing the USS VINCENNES and the USS MONTGOMERY. 

s. At 0641Z "GS" gave permission to engage the small 
boats with gunfire. 

t. At 0643Z USS VINCENNES and USS MONTGOMERY opened 
fire on two closing groups of Iranian small boats, including the 
group of small boats which had fired on OCEAN LORD 25. 

u. CO MONTGOMERY reported that two small boats maneuvered 
erratically and appeared to close USS MONTGOMERY and USS VINCENNES. 
CO USS MONTGOMERY also stated his lookouts reported small arms 
fire coming from the small boats. 

V. Crew members topside on USS VINCENNES reported small 
arms fire from the boats, and Repair Locker 2 personnel in USS 



25 



VINCENNES reported hearing what might have been small arms rounds 
impacting the starboard bow area. 

w. CO USS VINCENNES stated that the post-action analysis 
indicated that shrapnel, and/or spent bullets, impacted the 
starboard bow of the ship and the ablative coating behind the 
forward missile launcher. 

X. At approximately 0646Z, USS MONTGOMERY opened fire 
with her 5"/54 at the two westernmost contacts of the group of 
four. This is the group USS VINCENNES initially engaged. 

y. At 0649Z one group of small boats (TN 4456), 027 
degrees true from USS VINCENNES, was reported inbound and was 
taken under fire by USS VINCENNES 'a MT52. 

z. At 0650Z USS VINCENNES suffered a gun casualty to MT51 
resulting in a foul bore (chambered round in the gun that could 
not be fired) . 

aa. At 0651Z, "GS", in a transmission to both USS VINCENNES 
and USS SIDES ordered USS VINCENNES to take tactical control of 
USS SIDES. 

bb. The foul bore in MT51 caused the TAG to maneuver 
the ship radically, using 30 degrees rudder at 30 KTS ship's 
speed, in order to keep MT52 pointed at the most threatening of 
the surface contacts. 

cc. The high speed, large rudder angle turn caused 
books, publications and loose equipment to fall from desks and 
consoles in CIC. 

dd. At 070 3 Z USS VINCENNES ceased firing on the small 
boats. A total of 72 rounds of 5"/ 54 ammunition was expended. 

ee. At 0706Z USS MONTGOMERY reported confirmed kill 
on TN 4456. USS MONTGOMERY expended a total of 47 rounds of 
5"/ 54 ammunition. 

ff. C ] 

gg. Captain Rogers considered C ] before requesting 
permission to engage the small boats. Those criteria included: 

(1) The small boats had already committed a 
hostile act against his unit by firing on OCEAN LORD 25. 

(2) He had positive identification of the small 
boats as those that had committed the hostile act against OCEAN 
LORD 25. 

(3) He was initially prepared to disengage from the 



26 



small boats when they appeared to present no further threat to 
his units. 

(4) His decision to disengage was changed only when 
the small boats began to close his units. 

(5) The small boats have greater speed and maneuver- 
ability than the USS VINCENNES. 

(6) The small boats carry weapons capable of inflict- 
ing significant personnel and equipment casualties. 

(7) Experience with small boat tactics shows that 
the greatest threat they present is personnel and equipment 
casualties when they make high speed massed attacks on their 
targets, raking the superstructures of ships with gunfire and 
rockets . 

(8) The small boats did not turn away after the 
VINCENNES fired its first round, but continued to close. 

hh. CJTFME considered the following indicators in 
granting permission to engage the small boats: 

(1) Positive identification of the boats as those 
having committed a hostile act against a U.S. ship. 

(2) The small boats were not leaving the area. 

(3) The small boats were closing the USS VINCENNES 
AND USS MONTGOMERY. 

ii. USS MONTGOMERY and USS VINCENNES disengaged from 
the small boats when they ceased presenting a threat to U.S. 
ships . 

C. AIR ENGAGEMENT 

1 . Data Extraction Background 

a. USS VINCENNES ' s magnetic tapes containing data extracted 
from her SPY-IA, Command and Decision, and Weapons Control System 
computers, were transferred by courier from USS VINCENNES to 
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren (NSWC) on 5 July 1988. 

b. NSWC Dahlgren signed a receipt for the tapes on 6 
July 1988. 

c. NSWC Dahlgren copied the tapes and performed data 
reduction on the USS VINCENNES 's tapes lAW standard procedures. 

d. The results of that . data reduct,ion are included as 
C ]. 

27 



e. Preliminary data extraction results were provided by 
CO NAVSWC DAHLGREN messages 080516Z JUL 88 and 090708Z JUL 88. 
The former message stated: "Data received and successfully 
duplicated with the exception of less than 1% of one non-critical 
WCS tape. Initial basic analysis runs complete and checked. 
This report based on excellent SPY-IA data and correlations 
between SPY-IA, C&D, and WCS." 

f. [ ], (Head, AEGIS Program Office, NSWC) stated 
that the quality of data received was "as good as any data they 
(his analysts) have ever worked with." 

g. The data examined by NSWC Dahlgren indicated the 
following regarding the track of interest (TN 4131): 

(1) Altitude as seen by SPY-1 increased steadily, to 
a maximum of .13,500 feet at intercept. 

(2) Altitude readings received from TN 4131 's Mode 
III-C IFF transmission increased steadily from take-off at Bandar 
Abbas to a maximum of 12,900 feet 3 seconds before intercept. 

(3) The only IFF Modes received from TN 4131 as a 
result of interrogations by the system was Mode I I 1-6 760. 

h. AEGIS Display System (ADS) data cannot be extracted. 
Therefore, console actions at the CO, "GW", and TAG positions 
cannot be determined. 

i. No data tapes were available from other units, but 
the Mode III IFF of 6760 and increasing altitude seen in the data 
tapes from USS VINCENNES were corroborated by testimony and 
statements from USS SIDES. 

j. Information [ ] further corroborated that TN 4131 

was squawking Mode III-6760. 

2 • Time Line 

a. The time line below is a summary of all the events 

dealing with the air engagement which occurred between 0647Z and 
0654Z on 3 July 1988. From detection to intercept this was a 
time window of 7 minutes and 8 seconds. The time line is a 
reconstruction based on data extraction from USS VINCENNES ' s 
tapes, as well as statements, testimony, and log entries from USS 
VINCENNES, USS SIDES, and USS ELMER MONTGOMERY, The events 
derived from data tape extraction are underlined. The events are 
in chronological order, but some event times had to be estimated 
and may not be in precise time sequence. 

b. C " ]. 

• ■/ ■ 

c. Unless otherwise noted, names and associated console 



28 



positions refer to USS VINCENNES's CFC operator positions. 



d. When the term "in close control" or "hooked" is used 
with a TN it means that the operator referred to has the following 
displayed on the Character Read Out (CRO) display located on his 
console: TN, ID, grid coordinates, course, speed, altitude, ID 
amplifying information. Mode I/II/III IFF received, tracking 
quality, bearing and range. 

e. C ], 
(1). 0647Z 

(a) C ], (EWS), [ ] (IDS), and 

C ], (AIC-3) had an Iranian P-3 in close control. The P-3 was 62 

miles west of VINCENNES, heading 085^ 

(b) The E-2C (AE--602) launched from USS FORRESTAL 
(GV 59), and proceeded to its assigned "EARNEST WILL" station. 

(c) The SPY-1 radar initially reported the 
track of interest at a range of 47NM, bearing 025, initial course 
was 210. Mode III was 6760. 

(d) The radar operators in USS VINCENNES cannot 
discriminate size of a contact regardless of aspect angle. 

(e) C ] (RSC) determined that TN 4131 
was a single track. 

(f) C ] (49 ADT) first took close 



close control of the southbound track out of Bandar Abbas and 
made an identification as "UNKNOWN-ASSUMED ENEMY" a s it went 
"feet wet" in accordance with [ ] . 

(g) C ] (Air Detector Tracker and 
Track Supervisor-SIDES ) recalled picking up the track on a course 
of 200, Speed 300kts, with a Mode III - 6700 block. 

(h) C ] (IDS) picked up Mode III-6675 as the 
aircraft departed Bandar Abbas. System data continued to show a 
Mode III of 6760 . 

(i) C ] (AIC-3) also recalled seeing Mode 
III-6675 on his CRO. 

(j) C ] (UBS) saw Mode III-66?? and later 

saw an unspecified Mode II. 

(k) C - ]. 



29 




29a 

Figure 3-2. CG 47 CIC Plan View 



(DC ] (TIC) recalled hearing "possible 

F-4" launch from Bandar Abbas. 

(m) C ] (IAD) believed he heard a 

report of F-14's. 

(n) C ] ("GW") believed he heard a 

"F-14" reported. 

(o) Track of interest is reported by USS 
VINCENNES over Link 11 as TN 4474. 

(p) C ] (CSC), [ ] (UBS), 

C ] (IDS), [ ] (TIC), C ] (fC-1), 

[ ]~(AAWC), and [ ] (EWS) all have track of 

interest (TN 4474) in close control. 

(q) C ] (49 ADT) stated TN 4474 was squawking 

Modes II and III. 

(2) 0648Z 

(a) C j (TIC) recalled noting Mode III in 
his CRO for TN 4131. 

(b) Commercial air schedules were available in 
CIC and reviewed by decision-making personnel (CO, TAO, "GW", 
TIC, IDS) on a regular basis prior to the engagement. The IDS 
specifically looked at the schedule at his console whe r TN 4131 
first appeared. 

(c) C 1 (FC-1), [ 3(49 

ADT), and [ ] (AAWC) took a non-squawking P-3 (track 

4472 to the west (RNG 64, BRG 266, CSE 085) in close control 
for several seconds and returned to the track of interest (T N 
4474) . 

(d) [ ] (TIC) recalled seeing Mode I and Mode 
III on the P-3 (TN 4472). 

(e) The P-3 (TN 4472) was challenged over both 
MAD and IAD. The P-3 responded that he was on a search mission 
and that he would stay away from USS VINCENNES. The form of the 
challenge was: "Iranian P-3 on course 085 speed 270 this is USN 
warship BRG 085 64 miles, request you state your intentions." 

(f) The track of interest (TN 4474) was at 

a range of 44 NM, BRG 025, CSE 202, SPD 232, and at an altitude 
of 2500 ft. The altitude source to consoles continued to be Mode 
C IFF from the aircraft which was still ascending. 

(g) C 3 took TN 4131 in close 

control ■ ■ 

30 




(i) USS ELMER MONTGOMERY never gained radar contact 
on TN 4131. 

(j) C ] (TIC) recalled that the track 

number changed to TN 4131 occurred somewhere beyond 30NM. 

(k) C ] (TAO-SIDES) observed TN 4131 

leaving Bandar Abbas and although it was crossing with respect to 
USS SIDES, he directed his Weapons Control Officer to lock-on with 
FC 2. The aircraft was heading southwesterly at approximately 
400kts at an altitude of about 10,000 ft. 

(DC ] (WCO-SIDES) confirmed receiving the order. 

He thought he noticed an IFF of 6710 but didn't see an altitude. 

(m) [ 3 (WCC2-SIDES) generally confirmed 

the range report and recalled an altitude of 3500 ft with speed 
480 kts. 



(n) C ] 
(o) C 
(3) 0649Z 

(a) USS VINCENNES's Link 11 was off for 28 seconds . 

(b) C ] (AAWC) ordered TN 4131 to be 
challenged over the MAD and IAD nets. 

(c) A MAD warning was issued by USS VINCENNES 
to TN 4131 "Unidentified Iranian aircraft on course 203, speed 
303, altitude 4000, this is U.S. Naval warship, bearing 205, 40 
miles from you. You are approaching U.S. Naval warship operating 
in international waters. Request you state your intentions." 

(d) C ] (49 ADT) later recalled that his 
speed challenges on the MAD net were much slower (about lOOkts) 
than those given on the IAD net. 




(e) C ] 

(f) C ] 

(4) 0650Z 

(a) The following warning was issued to TN 
4131 over IAD by USS VINCENNES: "Unknown aircraft on course 206, 
speed 316 position 2702N/05616E you are approaching US Naval 
warship request you remain clear-. '* USS VINCENNES ' s system data 
indicated the same parameters. 




31 



(b) C ] (IDS) reported seeing a Mode 
11-1100 and Mode III-6675 on his RCI about 3-4 minutes before 
engagement when TN 4131 was at 9000 ft and near the SE corner of 
Qeshm Island. He reported possible F-14 and Mode 11-1100 over 
net 15/16 to "all stations." USS VINCENNES ' s system data showed 
only Mode III-6760 at this time. 

(c) Not all RCI indications are displayed in an 
operator's CRO because RCI data is not always correlated with a 
track in the system. IFF data in C&D is always correlated with 
a track number. 



(d) Multiple CIC personnel recalled hearing F-14 
report on internal net 15 or 16, or recall it being said aloud. 

(e) [ ] (CSC) never saw Mode II, but 
C ] (AIC) saw Mode 11-1100 and Mode III-6675 on his CRO. 

C ] (AAWC) also saw Mode 11-1100. USS VINCENNES 's system 

still held no IFF Mode II and held Mode III-6760 for TN 4131. 

(f) C ] (TIC) reported rechallenging 
TN 4131 after Mode II report but only got a Mode III. 

(g) C ] (WCC2-SIDES) noted TN 4131 
climb to 5000 ft. 

(h) C ] 

(i) TN 4131 was at range of 34 NM, BRG 025, ALT 
6160, and a SPD 334. 

(j) [ ] ("GW") reported an inbound 

Iranian F-14 to "GB" [ ] (BRG 025/RNG 32 NM). He 

also reported that he had warned TN 4131 and that the challenge 
was ignored. 

(k) C ] ("GW") recalled making a 

report when TN 4131 was at 32 NM and recalled an earlier 
altitude of 9800 ft when TN 4131 was between 38-40 NM. 

(1) USS VINCENNES ordered to take tactical control 
of USS SIDES by "GS" . 

(m) C .] 

(n) C ] (OSDA) tagged TN 4131 as F-14 

on the LSD. 



32 



(5) 0651Z 



(a) "GW" identified TN 4131 as Iranian F-14 
(BRG 024/RNG 28). Indicated intention to engage at 20NM unless 
he turned away. Asked "GB" if he concurred. "GB" told USS 
VINCENNES io warn aircraft first before firing. 

(b) In the limited time available, CJTFME could 
not verify the information passed by USS VINCENNES on TN 4131. 

(c) [ ] (TAO-SIDES) recalled first 
being alerted to TN 4131 when USS VINCENNES reported an F-14. 

(d) C ]. 

(e) [ ] (AAWC) recalled altitude at 
8-9 kft at 30-NM and ordered continous challenge until engagement. 

(f) The following MAD challenge was issued 
by USS VINCENNES: "Iranian fighter on course 210, speed 353, 
altitude 7000 ft. you are approaching US Naval warship, operating 
in international waters. If you maintain current course you are 
standing into danger and are subject to USN defense measures. 
Request you change course 270 repeat 270." [ ] (SIDES) 
recalled hearing this report. USS VINCENNES ' s system data 
indicated the same course, speed, and altitude. 

(g) An IAD challenge was issued by USS VINCENNES 
to TN 4131: "Unidentified aircraft on course 207, speed 350, 
altitude 7000, You are approaching US Naval warship bearing 205, 
30 miles from you. Your identity is not known, your intentions 
are not clear. You are standing into danger and may be subject 

to USN defensive measures. Request you alter course immediately 
to 270." USS VINCENNES 's system data indicated the same. 

(h) USS VINCENNES 's systems held TN 4131 at 
an altitude of 7000 ft at 29 NM. 

(i) C ] (SIDES) recalled challenging 
TN 4131 after "GS's" report and reading an IFF altitude of 7000 
ft with a mode III of 6707. He evaluated it as an Iranian HAJ 
flight. 

(j) C ] (SIDES) recalled the evaluation 

as a HAJ flight and that he and [ ] had reported it to the 

TAO. [ ] (TAG - SIDES) does not recall hearing the 

report of the HAJ flight. 

(k) C ]. 

(DC ] (OSDA) recalled TN 4131 being 

at an altitude of 8000 ft at SE dorner of Qeshm Island and 
descending. 



33 



(m) C ] (AIC-3) recalled that on his 

3rd look TN 4131 was just east of Qeshm Island at 9000 ft and 30 
NM. 



(n) [ ]. 
(o) C ]. 
(P) C ]. 

(q) C ] observed TN 4131 slowly 

rising at around 8-9 kft. He jumped up and said "possible 

COMAIR" to the CO and [ ] ("GW"). The CO acknowledged 

the report by raising his hand. 

(r) Airway (A-59) was depicted on LSD #2 in 
front of "GW" as single line and was slightly west of the actual 
center line of the 20 mi wide airway. 

(s) C ]. 

(6) 0652Z 

(a) A MAD warning was issued to TN 4131: 
"Iran aircraft fighter on CSE 211, SPD 360, ALT 9000. This is 
USN warship BRG 202 from you. Request you change course 
immediately to 270. If you maintain current course you are 
steering into danger and are subject to USN defensive measures." 
USS VINCENNES's system data indicated the same. 

(b) C ] (AAWC) recalled seeing TN 
4131 with an altitude of approximately 9000 ft and a speed of 
360-380 kts. So did the USS VINCENNES's system. 

(c) [ ] (49 ADT) recalled that the 
highest altitude for TN 4131 was 12,000 ft at 25NM. The system 
held TN 4131 at 8,400 ft when it was at 25 NM. 

(d) C ](FC"1) hooked TN 4474 for 5 sees 

(RNG 110 NM, BRG 139, ALT 11,900, SPD 448. Forty seconds later 
TN 4474 was dropped from system. 

(e) C ] (CSC) recalled that the last 
time he looked at altitude, TN 4131 was at 22 NM at 10,300 ft. 
At 22 NM, USS VINCINNES's system held TN 4131 at 9200 ft . 

(f) C ' ]■ 

34 



(g) C ] (AAWC) recalled requesting 
and receiving permission to illuminate at 20 NM. 

(h) USS VINCENNES issued a challenge over 
IAD to TN 4131: "Unknown aircraft on CSE-210, SPD-360, ALT 
10,000. You are approaching USN warship BRG 201, 20 miles from 
you. You are standing into danger and may be subject to USN 
defensive measures." The TN 4131 range and kinematics agreed 
with the USS VINCENNES 's system values. 

(i) USS VINCENNES issued a challenge over lAhD to 
TN 4131: "Iranian F-14 this is USN warship bearing 199, 20 
miles. Request you change course 270 immediately. If maintain 
current course you are subject to USN defensive measures." USS 
VINCENNES system data indicated the same. 



(j) C ] (TAG observer-USS SIDES) recalled 

TN 4131 rising in altitude as it reached CPA and continuing to 
rise to 10 or 11 kft. 

(k) C ] (49 ADT) stated that TN 4131 

IFF broke Mode II on his RCI (not on CRO) only one time. That 
occurred when it was at 20 miles. It then started to decrease in 
altitude between 25 and 20 miles. He said on net 12 that the 
contact was decreasing but did not refer to it by TN. IDS and 
TIC also noticed a decrease according to [ ] and they 

said it aloud on net. USS VINCENNES ' s system data indicated TN 
4131 was still ascending . 



(1) [ ] (MSS) recalled altitude decreasing 

at 20 NM. 

(m) C ] (IAD) did not recall hearing 

declining altitude reports on net 12. 



(n) C ] (OPREP/SITREP writer) recalled 

hearing descending altitude. 

(o) C ] (AIC-3) recalled an altitude 

of 9000 ft. at 20 NM. USS VINCENNES ' s system data indicated the 
same . 

(P) C ]. 

(q) C ] 
(r) C ]. 

(s) [ ] (IAD) recalled seeing altitude 

10,500 on TN 4131 



35 



(7) 0653Z 



(a) USS VINCENNES reported altitude of TN 4131 

at 10,500 ft. 

(b) C ]. 



(c) C ] (WCC-SIDES) Recalled that 

at the time of engagement, TN 4131 altitude was at 11,000 feet 
about 15 NM on a course paralleling SIDES. 

(d) [ ] (observer-SIDES ) confirmed 
growing excitement and yelling in CIC about COMAIR. He looked at 
WCO's IFF box and "read 6700 block", altitude about 11,000 ft. 

(e) C ] (CO-SIDES) recalled 
evaluating TN 4131 as a non-threat based on CPA to USS SIDES, 
F-14 ASUW capability, lack of ESM and precedent. He noted an 
altitude of 11,000 feet and shifted his attention to the P-3 to 
the west. 

(f) ESM intercept: 

(1) Airbus A300 carries WXR-7000C-X NAV/Weather 

Avoidance Radar. 

(2) AN/SLQ-32 will show WXR-700-X- 

(3) [ ] 

(4) Neither USS VINCENNES, USS ELMER MONTGOMERY 
nor USS SIDES had a AN/SLQ-32 intercept of the Airbus radar. 

(g) USS ELMER MONTOGMERY had no ESM contacts 
that would have correlated TN 4131 to an F-14. 

(h) C ] never recalled seeing an 
altitude above 11,000 ft. 

(i) TN 4131 was at 16 NM, BRG 018, SPD 371 
and ALT 11,230. — 

(j) C ] (TIC) recalled target 

altitude of 11,000 ft at 15 NM. He began to update the range 
every open spot on net 15/16. USS VINCENNES 's system data 
indicated the same values at 06; 53 . 

(k) C 3 (GW) heard continuous 

reports of declining altitude. 



36 



(DC ] (IAD) recalled being 

prepared to give the final warning when another ship came up and 
gave a challenge. [ ] also recalled that the aircraft was at 

7800 ft at that time and at 450 kts . The USS VINCENNES ' s system 
data did not hold this altitude until after missile intercept * 

(m) IAD challenge issued by [ ] (USS 

SIDES) to aircraft BRG 204 to VINCENNES, RNG 31 kyds , squawking 
Mode III-6760. USS VINCENNES ' s system data indicated the same. 

(n) C ] (AIC-3) recalled an 

altitude of 7700 feet on his fourth look at TN 4131 when it was 
at 15 NM. USS VINCENNES system data at 15 NM showed an altitude 
of 11 > OOP ft. 

(o) C ]. 
(P) C ]. 
(q) C ]. 
(r) TN 4131 was at 14NM> Alt 12,000, and 

still at SPD 382. 



(s) C ]. 
(t) C ]. 
(8) 0654Z 

(a) USS VINCENNES 's system held TN 4131 at 
RNG 12 NM, SPD 380, ALT l2,370, CSE 211 at the beginning of this 
minute . 

(b) C ] (RSC) reported hearing 
that the target had dropped in altitude 5-6000 ft at 12 NM. 

(c) C ]. 

(d) USS VINCENNES issued a MAD challenge to 
TN 4131 CSE 211, SPD 385. USS VINCENNES 's system data indicated 
the seume. 

(e) [ ] (IDS) observed TN 4131 at 
445 kts at an altitude of 7800 ft and descending during engagement. 
He recalled it being a minute from launch. USS VINCENNES ' s 
system information showed TN 4131 at an altitude of 12,000 ft., 
ascending, and at 380kt5. 

(f) C " ]. 



37 



(g) C ]. 

(h) C ] (AAWC) recalled an altitude 
of 6000-7000 ft at engagement. 

(i) [ ] (AIC-3) recalled TN 4131 
at an altitude of 7-8000 feet at missile launch. 

(j) C ]. 

(k) [ ] (MSS) requested and received 

verbal confirmation of the "TAKE" order from the AAWC. 

(1) USS VINCENNES reported TN 4131 at 
altitude of 12^500 ft. 

(m) [ ] (TIC) recalled giving range 

and altitude reports once a mile after 11 NM. Between 15 NM and 
11 NM he recalled no change in altitude. 

(n) C ] (MSS) hit the "FIRING 



AUTHORIZE" button. TN 4131 was at 10 NM . 

(o) At 0654 » a missile left the forward 
launcher, rail A. TN 4131 was at 10 NM, BRG 010, SPD 385 and ALT 
12,950. [ ] later the second missile left the forward B rail. 

(p) [ ] (49 ADT) recalled that at 

10 NM TN 4131 was 7800 feet. He stated "That, I haven't been able 
to get out of ray mind." 

(q) C ] recalled hearing after the 

shot that the altitude was 7800 ft. 

(r) C ] (TIC) recalled the missiles 

leaving the rail when TN 4131 was 10,000 feet at 10 NM, altitude 
declining. He also recalled it at 9 NM at missile launch. 

(s) C ] (IAD) was in process of 

initiating the last IAD warning when missiles went off. The 
message was not sent. 



on IAD net. 



(t) The sound of missiles going off was recorded 



(u) TN 4133, [ ] was reported by 

SPY-1 [ ] from-Bandar Abbas. RNG was 42 NM. 

(v) C ]. 

(w) C " ]. 

(x) C ' ]. 



38 



(y) [ ] (AIC-3) said he wrote IFF 

Mode 11-1100 and Mode II 1-66 75 on his console shortly before 
intercept. 

(z) [ ] (49 APT) took TN 4133 in 

close control and identified it as[ ] TN 4133 

was squawking Mode I-ll. AAWC and IDS also took TN 4133 in 
close control. 



(aa) At 0654 USS VINCENNES receiv ed 
last mode C altitude from TN 4131 which was at 12,900 ft. 
[ 3 (49 APT) returned to TN 4131^ 

(bb) At 0654 missile #1 intercepted TN 
4131 at RNG of 8 NM, BRG 001, ALT 13,500, SPD 383. Altitude 
reported from USS VINCENNES was 13,500. I ] later missile #2 

intercepted TN 4131. 

(cc) CO, USS MONTGOMERY, located on the ship's 
port bridge wing, observed the missiles impact TN 4131 and the 
descent of the aircraft. 

(dd) C ] (MSS) recalled an 

altitude of 7000 feet and range of 6 NM at intercept. System 
data indicated a range of 7 NM after intercept. 

(ee) [ ] (UBS) recalled target at 

7000 feet and 6 miles when it was shot. 

(ff) C ]. 

(gg) [ ] recalled recording altitude 

of 7800 and range 6 NM on his console at intercept. 

(hh) TN 4131, at 17 seconds after intercept, was 
at altitude 12,000. 



intercept 



(9) 0655Z 

(a) TN 4131 descended rapidly following missile 



(b) The aircraft went down approximately 6.5 
miles east of Hengham Island at 26-37. 75 'N/56-01 'E. This was 
3-37 miles west of the centerline of Air Route A-59. 



3 . Facts Bearing on the Commanding Officer's Decision 

a. Table 1 summarizes the information detailed in the 

39 



prior section that was available to CO USS VINCENNES with respect 
to TN 4131. 



b- CAPT Rogers recalled having the following 
indicators in declaring track 4131 hostile and deciding to 
engage : 

(1) F-14s had been recently moved to Bandar Abbas. 

(2) Iranian fighters had flown coincident with 
surface engagement on 18 April 1988. 

(3) The aircraft was not responding to verbal warnings 
over IAD or t'lAD. 

(4) There had been warnings of an increased threat 
over the July 4th weekend. 

(5) Increased hostile activity had been predicted 
for the 48 hours following recent Iraqi military victory. 

(6) The aircraft was not following the air 
corridor in the same manner as other commercial aircraft had been 
seen consistently to behave (i.e., flying exactly on the centerline). 

(7) It was flying at a reported altitude which 
was lower than COMAIR were observed to fly in the past. 

(8) Track 4131 was reported to be increasing in 

speed • 

(9) Track 4131 was reported to be decreasing in 

altitude. 

(10) Track 4131 was CBDR to USS VINCENNES and USS 

MONTGOMERY. 

(11) Track 4131 was reported by USS VINCENNES ' s person- 
nel squawking Mode 11-1100 which correlates with an F-14. 



(12) No ESM was reflected from track 4131, however, F- 
14s can fly "cold-nose" (no emitters). 

(13) F-14s have an air-to-surface capability with 
Maverick and modified Eagle missiles. 

(14) The aircraft appeared to be maneuvering into 
an attack position. 

(15) C . ], 



(16) Visual identification of the aircraft was not 

feasible. 

c. C ] recalled the following additional 

indicators which he used in assessing the threat posed by TN 4131. 

(1) The aircraft had lifted off from a military 
airfield in Iran heading south. 

(2) The aircraft appeared to veer toward USS MONTGOMERY 
after CAPT Rogers ordered that the target be illuminated. 

(3) The aircraft's lift off from Bandar Abbas was 
observed to be in a pattern that did not match previous COMAIR 
flights . 

(4) Track 4131 was reported as an F-14. 

(5) C ]. 

(6) P-3 turned inbound. 

d. CJTFME considered the following indicators when concurring 
in USS VINCENNES decision to engage track 4131: 

(1) The aircraft had been identified by USS VINCENNES 

as an F-14. 

(2) USS VINCENNES aidicated that the aircraft was 
inbound on USS VINCENNES. 

(3) USS VINCENNES was told to warn the aircraft. 
D. POST ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITY 

1 . Search and Rescue 

a. C ] 

b. Several Iranian helicopters were in the area of 
the wreckage by 0750Z. 

c. At least one hovercraft and up to 20 small boats 
including tugs were probably involved in SAR effort from 0800Z 
thru 1200Z. 

d. An unofficial list of Iranian Air FLT 655 
passengers and crew is included C ^ ]. 

41 



e. USS MONTGOMERY and USS VINCENNES were ordered by 
"GW" to provide assistance to the crash site. 

f. USS VINCENNES offered assistance but got no response. 
2 • Operational Reporting 

a. 0719 - VINCENNES reported F-14 splashed. 

b. CJTFME initially reported the boat engagement by 
CJTFME 030710Z Jul 88, OPREP-3P/004. Included was the first 
indication of an "unknown assumed hostile closing from north." 

c. CJTFME updated their OPREP-3/004 with CJTFME 030727Z 
Jul 88, OPREP-3/004A, confirming kill of an Iranian F-14. 
Details of altitude, spped, and IFF were provided. 

d. CJTFME OPREP 3P/004B 031445Z Jul 88 reported the 
downing of the probable F-14 and noted that CJTFME had been 
informed of the fact that IR 655 was overdue at Dubai. 

e. VINCENNES OPREP-3 031630Z Jul 88 was readdressed by 
CJTFME under the same DTG providing a timeline for both surface 
and air engagement and reconfirming altitude as 7800 feet and 
descending, speed 445 kts. Mode II, 1100, ID as F-14, and that 
the aircraft had ignored MAD and IAD warnings. Additionally; 
TN 4131, Bearing/Range 005T/9NM; Mode III, 6675, course 185T, 
and CBDR amplifying data was supplied. 

IV. OPINIONS 

A. GENERAL 

1. The USS VINCENNES did not purposely shoot down an 
Iranian commercial airliner. Rather, it engaged an aircraft the 
Commanding Officer, USS VINCENNES believed to be hostile and a 
threat to his ship and to the USS MONTGOMERY (FF 1082). 

2. Based on the information used by the CO in making his 
decision, the short time frame available to him in which to make 
his; decision, aand his personal belief that his ship and the 
USS MONTGOMERY were being threatened, he acted in a prudent 
manner • 

3. Iran must share the responsibility for the tragedy by 
hazarding one of their civilian airliners by allowing it to fly 
a relaatively low altitude air route in close proximity to 
hostilities that had been ongoing for several hours, and where 
IRGC boats were actively engaged in armed conflict with U.S. 
Naval vessels. 

42 



4. The downing of Iran Air 655 was not the result of any 
negligent or culpable conduct by any U.S. Naval personnel 
associated with the incident. 

5. Based on the information available to CJTFME, his 
confidence in CAPT Rogers and the capabilities of USS VINCENNES, 
his concurrence to engage TN 4131 was correct. 

6. The AEGIS Combat System's performance was excellent - 
it functioned as designed. Had the CO USS VINCENNES used the 
information generated by his C&D system as the sole source of his 
tactical information, the CO might not have engaged TN 4131. 

7. Time compression played a significant role in the incident. 
Prom the time the CO first became aware of TN 4131 as a possible 
threat,, until he made his decision to engage, the elapsed time 

was approximately three minutes, 40 seconds. Additionally, the 
Commanding Officer's attention which was devoted to the ongoing 
surface engagement against IRGC forces (the "wolf closest to the 
sled" ) , left very little time for him to personally verify infor- 
mation provided to him by his CIC team in which he had great 
confidence. The fog of war and those human elements which affect 
each individual differently — not the least of which was the thought 
of the Stark incident — are factors that must be considered. 

8. The digital data extracted from USS VINCENNES data 
recording tapes is valid and provided invaluable insights and 
information for the reconstruction of the events of 3 July 1988 
including the evaluation of individual CIC console operator 
actions . 

9. The Commanding Officer VINCENNES decision to engage 
TN 4131 was based primarily on the following: 

(a) The aircraft had lifted off from an airfield used 
jointly by military and civilian aircraft in Iran heading 
directly toward his ship at a relatively low altitude. 

(b) Track 4131 was CBDR to USS VINCENNES and USS 
MONTGOMERY. 

(c) TN 4131 was flying at a reported altitude which 
was lower than USS VINCENNES observed COMAIR to fly previously. 
Additionally, it was not flying exactly on the airway centerline 
as USS VINCENNES had seen previous COMAIR consistently do. 

(d) It appeared to veer toward the USS MONTGOMERY. 

(e) Track 4131 was reported to be increasing in speed, 
decreasing in altitude, and closing range. 

(f) No ESM was reflected from track 4131, however, F-14s 



43 



(g) The aircraft was not responding to verbal warnings 
over IAD or MAD. 

(h) Track 4131 waas reported by USS VINCENNES personnel 
to be squawking Mode 11-1100 which historically correlated to 
Iranian F-14's. 

(i) The aircraft appeared to be maneuvering into an 
attack position. 

(j) Visual identification of the aircraft was not 
feasible due to the lack of combat air patrol. 

(k) Iranian fighter aircraft had flown coincident with 
the surface hostilities involving U.S. and Iranian Forces on 
18 April 1988. 

(1) Warnings had been issued for increased hostile 
activity for the 48 hour period which included the July 4th 
weekend . 

(m) An Iranian P-3 airborne to the west of USS 
VINCENNES, turned inbound. 

(n) The Stark incident. 

(o) Iranian F-14s have an air-to-surface capability with 
Maverick missiles, iron bombs, and modified Eagle unguided rockets. 

(p) TN 4131 could have been a suicide attack. 

10. Having other forces under his tactical control (SIDES, 
MONTGOMERY) intensified the CO USS VINCENNES ' s feeling of 
responsibility to defend his task group from hostile action. 

11. The information available to CO, USS VINCENNES, upon 
which he based his decisions, conflicted in some cases with the 
data available in USS VINCENNES' command and decision (C&D) 
system. Specifically: 

(a) The C&D system contained no Mode II IFF information 
on TN 4131 yet operators in CIC had used Mode II as a means of 
declaring TN 4131 an Iranian F-14. 

(b) The C&D system showed TN 4131 continuously ascending, 
while the CO received reports of "descending altitude" immediately 
prior to enabling the firing key. 

12. Psychological factors: As the investigation developed, 
and it was discovered that there were disparities between the C&D 
tape data and what various members of CIC believed they saw, the 



44 



senior investigationg officer requested the professional advice 
of USN Medical Corps personnel who have studied combat stress. 
The following opinions draw heavily on their conclusions. 

Stress, task fixation, and unconscious distortion of 
data may have played a major role in this incident. 

TIC and IDS became convinced track 4131 was an Iranian 
F-14 after receiving the IDS report of a momentary Mode II. 

After this report of the Mode II, TIC appears to have 
distorted data flow in an unconscious attempt to make available 
evidence fit a preconceived scenario. ("Scenario fulfillment") 

Tic's perception that there was an inexperienced, weak 
leader in the AAWC position led to the emergence of TIC in a 
leadership role. TIC's reports were accepted by all and could 
have influenced the final decision to launch missiles. 

13. Captain Rogers action in delaying engagement of TN 4131 
with missiles until it was well within 15 NM demonstrated an 
appreciation for the seriousness of the consequences of his 
actions and was balanced with his responsibility to defend his 
ship. 



45 



B. RULES OF ENGAGEMENT 



1. CJTFME and CO, USS VINCENNES, properly selected and 
applied the correct Rules of Engagement to both the surface and 
air engagements. 

2. Based upon the information presented to Captain Rogers, 
engagement of TN 4131 was within the pareuneters of the Rules of 
Engagement . 

C. THIS SECTION INCORPORATES VARIOUS OPINIONS RELATED TO THE USS 
VINCENNES' 5 TRAINING, READINESS, AND BATTLE ORGANIZATION. 

1. Training and Readiness/Battle Doctrine. 

a. The USS VINCENNES was adequately trained to perform 
her missions as a unit of JTFME. 

b. With the exception of the AAWC position, USS VINCENNES' 
General Quarters AAW watch organization was experienced and 
qualified • 

c. Ship's Battle Doctrine was sound. 

2. CIC Watch Organization. ^ 

a. "GW" was considered by CO USS VINCENNES as his primary 
force and ship air warfare advisor. 

b. The Persian Gulf modifications to the USS VINCENNES 's 
CIC organization moved the ship's AAW coordination function away 
from AAWC and left him acting largely as a console operator. 
Assignment of "GW" to Force AAW, Ship AAW, and [ ] 
talker for surface and air SITREPS degraded his ability to inde- 
pendently assess the actual profile and ID of TN 4131. 

3. Mate rial /Combat Systems Readiness. 

a. There were no AEGIS combat systems maintenance or materiel 
problems which contributed to the incident. 

D. SURFACE ENGAGEMENT 

1. OCEAN LORD 25 took hostile fire from one of the groups of 
IRGC small boats it had been monitoring. 

2. The group of boats which USS VINCENNES took under fire 
included the group which had fired at OCEAN LORD 25. 

3. USS MONTGOMERY and USS VINCENNE;S were fired upon by | 
IRGC gun boats during the course of the surface engagement. 



46 



4- The ongoing surface engagement was a significant factor 
in increasing tension within USS VINCENNES's CIC. 

5. The foul bore and resulting high speed maneuvering of the ship 
to keep MT 52 in position to engage IRGC craft were complicating 
factors which prevented the CO from devoting his full attention 
to TN 4131, and it contributed to the tension in the CIC of USS 
VINCENNES . 

6- The surface engagement conducted by USS VINCENNES and USS 
MONTGOMERY was effective, 

E. AIR ENGAGEMENT 

1. C ]. 

2. At no time did IR 655 actually descend in altitude prior 
to engagement. 

3. Iran Air Plight 655, an Airbus 300, was on a normal climb 
out from Bandar Abbas and was flying within the established air 
route, A-59, from Bandar Abbas to Dubai. 

4. IR 65 5 was not on the exact center of airway A-59, but 
was 3.37 NM west of the center line. However, it was in the 
assigned airway. 

5. Iran Air Flight 655 was not squawking Mode 11-1100, but 
squawked Mode III-6760 during the entire flight. 

6. The IDS mis-correlated an RCI readout of Mode 11-1100 
with TN 4131. This occurred, according to analysis of the data, 
when the IDS hooked TN 4131 as it departed Bandar Abbas and left 
it hooked for almost 90 seconds. This meant that as the hooked 
symbol moved toward USS VINCENNES the read-gate for the RCI 
remained near Bandar Abbas. A Mode II transmission from an 
aircraft on the ground in Bandar Abbas would then be displayed in 
in his RCI if the signal could get to the ship. 

7. The un-correlated IFF Mode 11-1100 obtained by IDS could 
have been generated by a military aircraft (C-130, F-4, F-14) 
located on the ground at Bandar Abbas. This was supported by his 
IDS' RCI set-up and the RF ducting condition in effect on 3 July. 
Therefore, any number of military aircraft, present at the airfield, 
could have responded to a Mode II IFF interrogation by USS VINCENNES 
due to the ducting conditions prevalent that day. 

8. The CO, "GW" and key CIC AAW operators sincerely believed 
that they were engaging a hostile aircraft. 



47 



9. The range and altitude information passed to the CO 

on Net 15 was correct until TN 4131 reached approximately 15 NM. 
Approximate time 06 ; 53 . 

10. TN 4133 which departed Bandar Abbas almost simultaneously 
with missile launch was squawking Mode I-ll and could have been a 
potential source of confusion between Mode 1-11 and Mode 11-1100 
on IDS and AAWC's RCI. 

11- In the excitement of the impending engagement, it is 
entirely possible that reports of decreasing altitude passed over 
the net by TIC after the 15 NM point could have occurred if TIC 
passed only range values, which were interpreted as altitude, or 
he simply mis-read his CRO and interchanged altitude and range. 

12. The ship's air controller supervisor's recollection 

of 7800 ft altitude at 6 NM was actually the altitude of TN 4131 
33 seconds after missile intercept. In other words, the plane's 
altitude as it was plummeting to the water. 

13. Recollection of Mode III IFF responses other than 6760 
for TN 4131 were caused by imperfect recall by the IDS, ACS, 
AAWC, console operators in CIC, as well as the post incident 
SITREP writer. 

14. The violent maneuvers of the ship, the noise of the 
guns firing, gear falling in CIC and the lights in the LSD's 
flickering, heightened the tension in CIC during the critical 
time TN 4131 was being evaluated. 

15. IFF codes are not absolute determinators for engagement. 
Mode III is the least reliable because all aircraft are capable 
of squawking Mode III. 

16. C ]. 



17. There were no Link-11 dual designations (two separate 
vehicular tracks with the same LINK-11 STN) of TN 4131 during the 
period of interest. Therefore, a LINK-11 track crossover problem 
did not occur. 

18. The warnings issued by USS VINCENNES over IAD and MAD 
nets were transmitted and were heard by other units. However, it 
is impossible to know whether a particular aircraft has heard a 
challenge unless it replies or turns away. 

F, COMMERCIAL AIR 

1. Commercial air, particularly commercial air from Iran, is 
at risk in the Persian Gulf as long as hostilities continue in 
the area. Unless an aircraft can be visually identified as a 



48 



non-threat, any aircraft approaching a U.S. Navy ship could be 
considered a threat. However, an aircraft at high altitude 
(above 25,000 ft) will likely not be evaluated as a threat. 

2. U.S. Navy units operating in the Persian Gulf have 
insufficient current information on commercial traffic schedules, 
on commercial air routes and on the type and ranges of IFF codes 
used by commercial traffic. With over 1,000 commercial flights 
per week within the Persian Gulf area, it would be difficult for 
individual ships to maintain current, accurate airline information. 

3. Due to heavy pilot workload during take-off and climb-out, 
and the requirement to communicate with both Approach Control and 
Tehran Center, the pilot of Iran Air Flight 655 probably was not 
monitoring IAD. 

4. Any aircraft, including commercial aircraft, could be 
used in a suicide mission role, therefore. Commanders cannot 
disregard an aircraft squawking Mode III, IFF, flying on a 
commercial air corridor, and on a CBDR to his ship. 

5. Current verbal warnings and challenges used by JTFME 
units are ambiguous because they do not clearly identify to 
pilots exactly which aircraft the ship is attempting to contact. 

6. The limited number of VHF radios on U.S. surface units 
degrades their ability to simultaneously monitor the IAD frequency 
and communicate with civilian air traffic control agencies. 

7. Bandar Abbas Tower, Approach Control and Tehran Center 
did not hear, or failed to relay, the IAD warnings issued by USS 
VINCENNES to IR 655. 

8. The current tools used by the U.S. Navy for differentiating 
between friendly and hostile unknown aircraft were designed 
primarily for the open ocean environment. U.S. Naval weapon 
systems can reach further and often react more quickly than 
sensors can evaluate. This is especially true in the Persian 

Gulf areas where reaction time is constrained by geography. 
Therefore, altitude is one of the most useful indicators for 
establishing "no hostile intent." 

G. CJTFME 

1. CJTFME *s confidence in CO USS VINCENNES, and in the 
capability of the AEGIS system, coupled with information 
available to him in his Flag Plot, were the factors involved in 
his concurrence with CO, USS VINCENNES decision to engage TN 
4131. He exhibited prudence and good judgment in telling USS 
VINCENNES to warn the aircraft before engaging it. 



49 



2. Because CJTFME did not have a usable real time data Link, 
he could not have independently verified the data provided by USS 
VINCENNES regarding TN 4131, 

3. The CJTFME watch organization was sound, personnel were 
qualified and they performed satisfactorily. 



50 



V. RECOMMENDATIONS 



A. General 

1. No disciplinary or administrative action should be taken 
against any US naval personnel associated with this incident. 

2. Since it appears that combat induced stress on personnel 
may have played a significant role in this incident, it is 
recommended the CNO direct further study be undertaken into the 
stress factors impacting on personnel in modern warships with 
highly sophisticated command, control, communications and 
intelligence systems, such as AEGIS. This study should also 
address the possibility of establishing a psychological profile 
for personnel who must funtion in this environment. 

3. Visual identification (VID) is the only positive means to 
distinguish friendly or commercial aircraft from potentially 
hostile aircraft. Since there is insufficient U.S. land or carrier 
based tactical aircraft to provide continuous VID duties in the 
Persian Gulf, the USG should immediately convey the following to 
the Government of Iran: 

"To minimize the risk of another 
accidental shoot down of a commercial 
airliner, the Government of Iran should be 
aware that any fixed-wing aircraft flying 
over the waters of the Persian Gulf to or 
from Iran is suspect as to its intentions 
towards U.S. Naval Units. Neither United 
States Naval Forces, nor those of any other 
nation, are capable of assessing the 
intentions of an aircraft in flight. 
Accordingly, to avoid the possibility of an 
accident, and to preclude possible defensive 
actions by U.S. warships and aircraft in the 
Persian Gulf, United States naval forces 
will presume that any aircraft entering or 
exiting over Persian Gulf waters to or from 
Iranian Air Space will be considered a non- 
threat to U.S. forces only if it transits 
over the Gulf waters at an altitude greater 
than 25,000 feet. Small aircraft incapable 
of reaching 25,000 feet and rotary wing 
aircraft should make their intentions known 
by radio at least five miles from any U.S. 
unit." 

4. That no changes be made to the existing ROE. 



51 



5. To prevent the possibility that commercial aircraft eb-i|c3 
become innocent victims in this area of armed conflict, the US,S.|.:icj.v' 
should seek ICAO's immediate attention to revise the existing;; ' " 
commercial air route structure over the waters of the Persian :j 
Gulf. The State Department should direct our embassies to urgje ' 
affected countries to cooperate in this endeavor. Pending t^i^^l^r . 
results of this request, the USG should also urge ICAO to p^jsmW'-iS 
an immediate NOTAM that all flights climb to at least 25^000; ^M^Ulif 
over land prior to crossing the Gulf and begin their descent d^ve^^ ;j 
land. ■ - i^^---^'^ 



6. Concur with the measures taken by USCINCENT to enhance 
commercial air safety over the Persian Gulf with the exceptional 



paragraph l.C.(l)(B}, relative to voice warnings, 
that this paragraph be revised as follows: 



It isi^reeonrnre^ep 



"Unidentified air/surface contact 

squawking (EX: MOD III - XXXX), at 'V 

(Positional reference to some ;! 

geographical point), at altitude, on 

course , speed , You are 

approaching U.S. warship operating in 
international waters. Your identity is not 
known/your intentions are unclear (one or . 
both), you are standing into danger and may ' -j 

be subject to United States defensive V ■ 

measures. Request you alter your course 
immediately to remain clear of me." 

7. That CJTFME strengthen the MEF " inchop brief" to include, 
an in-depth review of the unique problems associated with GOMAliC^f 
within the Persian Gulf Area. 



8. That CJTFME continue to liaise with Air Traffic Control' 
agencies and American embassies to resolve the COMA I lit proiblems ''i^ 
unique to the Persian Gulf Area (e.g., identification, cbramunilc'ar 
tions, ICAO procedures, etc.). 



B. USS VINCENNES BATTLE ORGANIZATION 

1. That the Commanding Officer, USS VINCENNES, take actiorit a'k.v^ 
required to strengthen the AAWC position in the USS VINCENNES 
CIC organization. 

2. That the Commanding Officer, USS VINCENNES, incorporate 
the CIC organization modifications required by Persian Gulf ' 
operations into the existing Battle Doctrine. Because USS VIN,CENNlE/S' 
uses a split warfare TAO CIC organization e.g., surface and aolr^^ 
"GW" should not be given responsibility as a radio telephone 
talker. 



52 




C . AEGIS SYSTEM RECQMMENDAT I ONS s 



1. It is recommended the CNO: 

a. Determine the cause of reported STC-2/lVCS net 15/16 
degradation (due to loading), and issue a class advisory if 
required . 

b. Reassess the design of the AEGIS large screen display 
(LSD) to allow the option of displaying altitude information 
directly on the LSD. 

D. TRAINING ENHANCEMENTS . 

1. If we must operate in a low intensity conflict and in the 
presence of COMAIR, we must train to that environment, real or 
simulated. Request the CNO develop a fleet wide identification 
matrix for dense air traffic environments in third world/low 
intensity conflicts. Battle Group training doctrines, AAW proce- 
dures, numbered Fleet Commander Fighting Instructions, and workups 
should reflect consensus on ID matrices to deconflict COMAIR 
within war zones, when being used as "cover" for military aircraft, 
or when being used as suicide attackers. For example, live 
missile exercises could include a percentage of the inbound 
drones be flown on COMAIR profiles, with proper modes and codes, 

in close proximity of simulated hostile targets. Another method 
would be to have aggressor aircraft act as COMAIR to challenge 
the deconf liction capabilities of surface ships with/without VID 
capability. 

2. Request CNO review AEGIS IFF operator training procedures 
and provide a class advisory to ensure operator familiarity of 
pros and cons of various RCI selectable modes. 



WILLIAM M. FOGARTY 



53